By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
Sounders FC designated player Christian Tiffert trained with his new team for the first time Tuesday. And if he wasn’t functioning at 100 percent, he had a good reason.
“I feel a little bit tired because (Monday) I fly from Germany and Seattle,” he said, in what he calls “school English.” “I feel the difference between the time. But it was good.”
Despite the jet lag, Tiffert took part in every drill as the Sounders worked at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
“I asked him if he wanted to go through the whole training (Tuesday), since he just flew in (Monday),” coach Sigi Schmid said. “He said, no, he felt pretty good. So we talked at each segment of training: ‘How do you feel now?’ ‘I want to keep going.’ So he went through all the training and did the shooting at the end, as well. So it was good.”
Tiffert signed Friday as the sixth designated player in club history, shortly after the club traded Alvaro Fernandez to Chicago for allocation money. Schmid and Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer stressed they had hoped to add Tiffert without subtracting Fernandez, but they found no way around the Major League Soccer rule that limits each club to a maximum of three designated players.
“There isn’t a hundred-page rule book on DPs at this point, so it’s bit of a work in progress,” Hanauer said. “… It’s my understanding that the league’s position was that if we were to loan Alvaro out — for instance, outside of the league — we would effectively have four designated players under our control.”
Finally, the club decided to part with Fernandez to make way for Tiffert.
“He’s a midfielder who’s got some vision, who can see things going forward, who’s got a decent shot,” Schmid said. “He’s a good crosser of the ball, because he’s played as a winger for a lot of years as well. … Our big thing is (to improve) possession on our opponent’s end of the field and maintain pressure on the opponent. Obviously if we can get a little better making those final passes, it makes us better.”
Tiffert was captain of FC Kaiserslautern of the German Bundesliga and has more than 280 appearances in Germany’s top league. He also played in Austria.
Here is more of what he had to say Tuesday:
n On joining the Sounders: “I never expected that it could be a deal to come to USA, but I’m happy about it. Really happy. … I had options, but I like the life. For my family, it’s very good. I have two kids. My wife and I and the kids want to do an adventure. I hope I can bring Seattle more success.”
n On leadership: “It depends on what are you doing on the field: what kind of action you have, not if you speak too much. I can do it — no problem. But what are you doing on the field? Are you an action or only a speaker? I hope I can do much action.”
n On his fitness: “The season starts in Germany this weekend. I don’t know what’s the name in English — in Germany you say ‘spritzykite.’ There was no practice games, but I have five weeks preparation. Because in Germany you work hard, and it’s warm. I think I’m fit.”
Schmid, who was born in Tuebingin, Germany, translated “spritzykite” as indicating explosiveness and quickness.
Tiffert cannot play for the Sounders until his P-1 Visa arrives. Schmid said the timing of that can vary, but he does not expect Tiffert to be available in time for Seattle’s next MLS match, Sunday at home against Los Angeles.