Seamon trying his luck with Union
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.”