TUKWILA, Wash. — Pat Noonan is sticking around with the Seattle Sounders. The former New England Revolution attacker’s contract with the Sounders expired Thursday, but the club announced on Friday that it signed the veteran for the rest of the 2011 season.
The 30-year-old played 21 minutes against the Revolution last Sunday, his first action in an MLS contest since July 2010.
Released by the Colorado Rapids in early 2010, Noonan played in 12 matches (eight starts) in all competitions for Seattle that year after the Sounders scooped him up.
In 2011, the veteran has been less involved as injuries have kept him on the shelf for long stretches. Healthy now, Noonan has been honing his skills in reserve matches and now feels ready to contribute.
“I’ve been feeling good," Noonan said at training on Friday. "The last month has been good. I’ve been getting good minutes in the reserve games and that’s been building into the US Open Cup and getting into the [gameday] 18 these past couple weeks. Each week I’m getting stronger and feeling better.”
A healthy Noonan can help the team in the US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League competitions. With the extra competitions and the friendlies in 2010, Noonan noted that it added about 10 to 15 more matches to the club’s schedule — meaning the club’s depth will be tested.
“If I’m not playing in MLS games, it’s great to have those minutes,” Noonan said.
Coach Sigi Schmid likes the veteran presence Noonan provides. He credited the player for calming the match down in Tuesday night’s US Open Cup match against the Kitsap Pumas, specifically finding space and receiving the ball in the wide areas, which opened up the field.
“He has that vision and that capability and the soccer brain that is great to have on the field,” Schmid said Wednesday. “As long as he can physically stay healthy and get his fitness fully, then he is a guy who can help any team, not just ours.”
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS