TUKWILA, Wash. — To the relief of many, Obafemi Martins was, indeed, in Seattle Sounders training when camp opened on Saturday.
The former Nigerian international spent the bulk of the offseason overseas and was regularly mentioned as a potential transfer target of teams all over Europe.
Whether there was much to those rumors, Martins seemed satisfied to be back in Seattle for a second season after switching clubs six times since the conclusion of the 2008-09 season with Newcastle.
“I think right now I’m not going to talk about anything right now because I’m back in Seattle,” Martins told reporters. “I want to start with the team and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
Getting some time away from soccer also seems to have done Martins’ well. Prior to this offseason, he had been playing almost nonstop since September 2012.
“We met earlier this week and this is the first extended break he’s had in a long, long time and he felt pretty rejuvenated,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “He took advantage of his break. I asked how he gets fit and he goes, ‘I just want play. I’ll do my sprints.’
“You saw him in training today, he works hard and he has that flair and that ability to make things happen and score goals. We’re excited about having him back. It’s great he had that break and he comes into the season refreshed and ready to go.”
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All that wear and tear had started to take a toll on Martins. After opening his Seattle tenure with six goals in his first 10 games, he scored just two goals over the final five months of the season and ended up missing 10 of the team’s final 16 matches with various injuries.
Like most of the Sounders who returned, Martins would rather move on than dwell on what has widely been acknowledged as a disappointing and frustrating season for the entire team.
“I don’t really think about last season,” he said. “This is a new season now. We just have to continue and try to do better than we did last season.”