2007 Jul 2

From today's Sounders news release:

Taylor Graham set to return to the Sounders

The Seattle Sounders strengthened their bid for a USL First Division Championship today with the signing of 2005 USL First Division Defender of the Year, Taylor Graham.

The signing is still pending the approval of U.S. Soccer, but the Sounders hope to have Graham available as early as Tuesday for the match in Rochester. Currently, he is in route from New York City to Rochester to join the squad. The Sounders sent a jersey to Rochester via Fed Ex in anticipation of Graham getting clearance to play in Tuesday’s match.

Graham led the Sounders in minutes during the 2005 title run with 2,520 in 28 regular season appearances. He tallied two goals and played every minute of every regular season and playoff match on his way to Defensive Player of the Year honors.

"Taylor was a great addition to our club during the 2005 season and we'll look for him to make an immediate impact this year," said Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer.

The 27 year old defender was recently released by Red Bull New York of Major League Soccer after appearing in 15 matches during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

The spell was Graham's second in MLS. He was taken 33rd overall in the 2003 MLS Superdraft by the Kansas City Wizards and appeared in 19 matches in two seasons before joining the Sounders an advance of the 2005 season.

Graham stepped in to lead the Sounders backline that allowed the third fewest goals against in the regular season after captain Danny Jackson tore his ACL the second day of training camp.

Sounder fans will have their first opportunity to welcome Graham back to the squad at the exhibition match against the Tacoma Tide at Curtis High School Stadium on July 7th. Kick-off is scheduled for 7pm and tickets are $5 at the gate.