Sea­mon try­ing his luck with Union

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - THE STAT SHEET - By MATTHEW De GE­ORGE

UP­PER ME­RION — Mike Sea­mon has grown ac­cus­tomed to the process of play­ing for a job, of the phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal toll that it places on a pro­fes­sional.

In his lat­est au­di­tion, this one as a tri­al­ist with the Philadel­phia Union, the Vil­lanova grad­u­ate is grate­ful to at least have some fa­mil­iar sur­round­ings.

At 25, Sea­mon is older than some of the MLS vet­er­ans on which the Union will lean on this sea­son. Af­ter spend­ing most of three sea­sons on the bench in Seat­tle and last year with USL Pro side Pitts­burgh River­hounds, Sea­mon is hope­ful he will catch on with the Union.

More than most, the idea of play­ing pro­fes­sional soc­cer in Philadel­phia is near and dear to Sea­mon’s heart. The Union came into ex­is­tence while Sea­mon was at Vil­lanova, com­pil­ing a stellar ca­reer that cul­mi­nated in 2009 when he was named the Philadel­phia Soc­cer Seven Player of the Year.

The mid­fielder was plucked by Seat­tle with the 27th pick in the 2010 MLS Su­perDraft, sandwiched be­tween ill-fated Union mid­fielder picks Toni Stahl (17 over­all) and Kyle Nakazawa (33).

“I re­mem­ber when I found out Philly was go­ing to have an ex­pan­sion team dur­ing my draft year, that was ex­cit­ing,” Sea­mon said at Union train­ing at YSC Sports. “Ob­vi­ously go­ing to Seat­tle was a great ex­pe­ri­ence. But it’s al­ways nice to be around your home­town and where you went to col­lege. I’ve got a lot of ties to Vil­lanova still, and I’m ex­cited about the op­por­tu­nity to po­ten­tially get a spot on this team.”

Sea­mon made eight league ap­pear­ances for the Sounders in 2010, the club’s sec­ond in the league. He was handed his de­but at PPL Park in the Union’s 3-1 win over Seat­tle June 27. His ap­pear­ances dwin­dled to just one in the league over the next two sea­sons, spurring Sea­mon to find a new home.

On the ad­vice of Seat­tle coach Sigi Sch­mid, the na­tive of Rah­way, N.J., dropped a level to USL Pro in search of reg­u­lar play­ing time. His path from Pitts­burgh to a trial with the Union is the same fol­lowed last sea­son by Matt Kas­sel, who par­layed it into a ros­ter spot.

When it came time to latch onto an MLS train­ing camp, Sea­mon took ad­van­tage his con­nec­tion with for­mer Seat­tle team­mate Jeff Parke, a Philly na­tive and Drexel grad who spent 2013 with the Union be­fore be­ing traded to D.C. United two weeks ago.

With a foot in the door, Sea­mon has been able to pur­sue his MLS dreams in prox­im­ity to his valu­able sup­port sys­tem of fam­ily and friends.

“It’s nice to be able to re­lax af­ter train­ing and spend some time with some peo­ple that you know as op­posed to go­ing home and sit­ting in the ho­tel and not re­ally hav­ing that close con­nec­tion with peo­ple,” he said. “… I guess it de­pends on the per­son. I guess some peo­ple like to get away and be com­pletely on their own, but for me, get­ting to take my mind off of things and spend some qual­ity time with the peo­ple I’m close with helps me a lot. It helps me re­lease some ten­sion.”

That doesn’t mean that be­ing a cou­ple of miles up the road from his col­lege stomp­ing grounds hasn’t been odd at times.

“It’s a lit­tle weird. It’s very dif­fer­ent than what I’ve been ac­cus­tomed to,” Sea­mon said. “(Tues­day), I walked into the fa­cil­ity and Vil­lanova’s soc­cer team was train­ing on the field be­fore us, so I walked onto the field and talked to Coach (Tom) Car­lin and saw one of my old team­mates who is coach­ing there now. It’s def­i­nitely dif­fer­ent.”

Sea­mon hasn’t had many in-depth con­ver­sa­tions with the Union staff about their ex­pec­ta­tions for him. His main fo­cus is sell­ing them on the value of his game, first and fore­most his ver­sa­til­ity, which has had him work­out mainly as a right back and a for­ward. He can also be a right-side mid­fielder.

“They’re look­ing to see me in a cou­ple dif­fer­ent po­si­tions be­cause I’m sure the peo­ple they’ve spo­ken to have said I’m pretty ver­sa­tile and can play mul­ti­ple spots,” Sea­mon said. “So I think they’re just try­ing to get a look at where they prob­a­bly see me right now, what po­si­tion they see me in, and we’ll look for­ward from there.”

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