Steve Zakuani formally ended his attempted comeback with the Seattle Sounders on Tuesday, announcing in a lengthy Instagram post that he won’t play for the club this year.
Zakuani hasn’t played in MLS since 2014, when he made 17 regular season appearances for Portland. The No. 1 pick in the 2009 SuperDraft, Zakuani was an electric winger for the Sounders early in his career, recording 16 goals and 12 assists in 64 games for Seattle before breaking his leg early in the 2011 season. He made just 33 regular season appearances in three seasons after suffering the injury.
He trained with Seattle all preseason, but wrote on Tuesday that he didn’t feel like he’d be ready for the start of the season and would feel guilty taking a roster spot on the Sounders or their USL side, S2, from a younger player in camp.
“While I definitely feel I have something left, and with a few more months of hard work I could have a good career in MLS again, the reality is that the MLS season is less than a month away and I won’t be ready by then,” he wrote. “There’s no way I want to occupy a roster spot while I get myself into optimal shape over the next few months. The team needs players who can play now, either for the first team or S2.”
Zakuani, who will turn 29 on Thursday, wrote that he’ll return to the Sounders broadcast team and continue running his foundation, Kingdom Hope.
“I’ll continue to work on the TV side of things and be an ambassador for this great [organization],” he wrote. “I am completely at peace with this decision and couldn’t be happier to support this team from the sidelines this year.”