MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – Despite never playing a minute in the league, Barcelona star Luis Suarez has had a significant impact on Major League Soccer. He was Nicolas Lodeiro’s translator over the phone as the Seattle Sounders negotiated to bring the Uruguayan maestro into the squad.
On Tuesday at the MLS Media and Marketing Tour, Lodeiro told reporters that Suarez might be in the league sooner than previously thought.
“It’s just a matter of a phone call, a phone call away,” said Lodeiro through a translator. “He already makes jokes that he’s coming to the league. He’s already a fan of Seattle.”
Suarez has been prolific for Barcelona since his arrival in 2014, so it’s unlikely he’ll make the jump to MLS anytime soon. Still, even as a joke between friends, it was clear that Suarez remains aware of the happenings in MLS through Lodeiro.
After helping the Sounders win the MLS Cup in 2016, the midfielder spent the offseason in Uruguay. Now back in the US and with training camp beginning soon, Lodeiro has to shift gears from just staying in shape during the short break to getting ready to defend the MLS Cup title with Seattle.
“[The offseason] was very relaxed,” said Lodeiro. “I rested, I did some work. Obviously friends and family congratulated me for winning and asked questions about the league.”
With only half a season under his belt, Lodeiro still has plenty to learn about MLS, though he’s been pleasantly surprised by what he has discovered so far.
“The organization was very surprising for me,” said Lodeiro. “The competitiveness of the league is something that has really blown me away.
“I watched a little bit of the league before. After the Sounders’ proposal I watched a little more. I watched the Sounders, my new teammates, to learn more.”
The research he was able to do by watching games couldn’t prepare Lodeiro for one particular aspect every player new to MLS comes to realize: travel in North America can be exhausting. Additionally, coming to Seattle, there was another obstacle he had to get used to.
“The most difficult thing was getting used to the synthetic field,” said Lodeiro. “It seems like I adapted quickly, but there was some pain after the games.
“I was fortunate that I came from Argentina where I was playing Copa Libertadores, so I was competing already [and not on a summer break].”