SEATTLE – Seattle Sounders FC announced on Tuesday that they have parted ways with Swiss forward Blaise Nkufo.
The Designated Player and the club have mutually agreed to go their separate ways effective immediately. Financial details are being negotiated by the Sounders, the league and Nkufo’s agent.
No specific reason was immediately given.
Nkufo, who joined Seattle last July after representing Switzerland at the 2010 World Cup, finished third on the team with five goals last season. He played in 11 regular-season games and 16 in all competitions, and became the first player in franchise history to record a hat trick on Sept. 18 at Columbus.
The 35-year-old entered the 2011 season as one of three DPs on Seattle’s roster, alongside Fredy Montero and Alvaro Fernandez.
“This move improves our flexibility with regard to the salary cap,” Sounders FC general manager Adrian Hanauer said in a statement.
The announcement came an hour before the Sounders kicked off the 2011 regular season against the LA Galaxy at Qwest Field.
Head coach Sigi Schmid gave no indication of the move at Seattle's final training session on Monday, but he did downplay the club's expectation for the big striker.
"I don't know if you set a goal mark," Schmid told reporters. "Obviously we expect him to be a player who can contribute for us up front, hold the ball up and get other people involved in the game – also finish the opportunities that get presented to him. I always hate throwing a number out there."
Local radio station KIRO-FM reported Tuesday that Nkufo had come to the team last week and asked for a trade.