2003 Feb 27

Nguyen remains at home with Sounders, spurns Vancouver offer

SEATTLE Viet Nguyen will remain a Seattle Sounder after all.

After seriously entertaining a free-agent contract offer from Vancouver, Nguyen decided to stay home by signing a one-year deal with the Sounders on February 18.

By re-signing with Seattle, the 26-year-old midfielder, who played college soccer with Washington, will stay with the club that gave him his start in professional soccer in 1999.

"I was actually really close to going to Vancouver, but the Sounders kicked in a little more (money) to help me stay around," said Nguyen, who graduated from Lakes High School of Tacoma in 1994 and enters his fifth season as a pro. "Everything was pretty much on the table and I like what was on the table with Vancouver, so I told Seattle that.

"Plus, the coaching factor came into play as well. I like playing for (Sounder Coach) Brian Schmetzer."

Nguyen also said that getting a chance to play a full season in Seahawks Stadium, playing with the same talented team and being closer to the youth teams he coaches factored into his return.

Late last month Nguyen said he was leaning heavily toward signing with the Sounders' Interstate-5 rivals, the Vancouver Whitecaps.

"I got to thinking about next year and the guys that are coming back with the Sounders and playing in the new stadium," said Nguyen, who hopes to be part of a Seattle team similar to last year's 24-7-1 club. "The new stadium, it will be kind of exciting to play there. Playing in the opening game at the new stadium last year was one of the funnest times I've had in my life."

Nguyen coaches two youth teams U-12 Northwest Nationals of Lynnwood and U-15 Federal Way Storm virtually year-round.

Nguyen tallied a career-best 23 points on eight goals and seven assists in 2002 as the Sounders posted the best regular-season mark in A-League history at 23-4-1. Seattle had its season end abruptly in the second round of last year's A-League playoffs, falling to Vancouver 8-2 in the two-game, aggregate series.

In four seasons with Seattle, Nguyen has 44 points on 13 goals and 18 assists in 102 games.