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.
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT! As many of you know, I've been training with my old team, the Sounders for the entire pre season so far. The experience has been great. Being around old friends/teammates and a great coaching staff reminded me of how special this club is. The idea of making a comeback was definitely entertained this offseason and I worked myself back into shape to be able to train at an elite level. 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. 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 for S2. I had two questions entering pre season. 1. Can I still play? 2. How effective can I be? While I definitely saw that I still have quality and can play, I'm not sure how effective I could be right now. Given several months, I think I could reach a really good level but I don't have the luxury of time, the season starts in March, not July. And because of that, I'm not willing to give up the life I enjoy now with broadcasting, running my foundation, and planning my annual charity game, to spend a few more months training and hoping everything goes well towards a comeback. Everything I did in my career is etched in stone and I'll always have the memories, but I'm happy to leave it in the past. It would not be right for me to occupy a roster spot if I don't feel I could contribute as much as someone else I'm keeping the spot from could. The young players on this team have a lot of talent and it's their time. I'll continue to work on the TV side of things and be an ambassador for this great organisation. I am completely at peace with this decision and couldn't be happier to support this team from the sidelines this year. As always, thank you for the support! @soundersfc #sounders
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.”