2004 Mar 24

From today's Sounders news release:

Seattle re-signs one of team's all-time offensive leaders

(Seattle, Wash.) - - The Seattle Sounders announced today the re-signing of forward Darren Sawatzky, an internationally experienced veteran returning for his fourth Sounders season.

"Darren Sawatzky is just what a coach needs," said Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer. "Veteran leadership, a feisty personality, a will to win and plays to the best of his abilities. He is a great example for the younger players on this team."

In 2003, Sawatzky appeared in 21 matches, played 1,038 minutes and scored four goals.

The 5-10 forward had his first stint as a Sounder in 2000 where he made an immediate impact on the club, scoring 16 goals along with 9 assists, earning the Sounders' 2000 MVP Award. Sawatzky left Seattle for a season before returning to play for the Sounders in 2002 and 2003.

In only three seasons, Sawatzky is among the Sounders all time statistics leaders in nearly every offensive category including points (77), goals (29) and assists (19). He is also among the top ten all-time Sounders in minutes and matches played since 1994.

Sawatzky's career includes playing time with three Major League Soccer teams, the New England Revolution, Dallas Burn and Colorado Rapids. He has also played internationally in Mexico and in the English Premier League.

A Seattle-area native, Sawatzky graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School and played soccer for the University of Portland in Portland, Ore.

"He still has many goals left in his talented feet, and I look forward to giving him a chance to spark the team this season," said Schmetzer. "He has shown versatility and is willing to do anything for the club. He will definitely have a positive influence with the Sounders this year."

Sawatzky will join the rest of the Sounders in early April as they prepare for the 2004 season. The 2004 home opener is on May 8th against the expansion Edmonton Aviators in Seahawks Stadium; match time is 7pm.