Chelsea match a fitting farewell to a loyal Sounder

Jul 18, 2012, 10:33 AM | Updated: 12:34 pm

Emotions will be running high in Seattle tonight for a good soccer player and an even better person, Roger Levesque. This will be his swan song for a game he’s known and loved since growing up in Portland, Maine.

Levesque decided a few weeks back to retire after his Sounders battle Europe’s top team, Chelsea. The 31-year-old Stanford grad will pursue his master’s in business at the University of Washington.

“How great did that work out?” Levesque said after Tuesday’s practice. “When they organized this match, I think Chelsea was like mid-table, struggling a bit, and here they are winning the Champions League. That’s why it’s a good time for me to just end … on a high note with everybody involved.”

Levesque has been an important figure in keeping professional soccer thriving in Seattle. He played for the Sounders USL franchise and showed enough skill and intangible qualities to earn a spot on the MLS club.

“Roger’s fantastic. He epitomizes what you want in a Sounder with his dedication to the team and he comes to practice every day ready to perform,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said in the Coach’s Corner interview. “He’s tremendous in the locker room and is somebody who always has a smile on his face or can put a smile on the face of the guy sitting next to him.”

Schmid says he’ll make sure Levesque gets some featured playing time tonight against Chelsea.

Levesque’s strong ties with the organization and Sounders fans will stay with him forever.

“Anybody and everybody has given back so much to be influential in my life, helping me get to the point where I am today,” he said. “There will be a lot of hugs and thank yous, maybe a few tears.”

Levesque admits he’s not one to easily cry, but on a recent team flight he watched the movie “We Bought a Zoo” and something struck a chord. Hearing a huge ovation tonight might set off plenty of moist eyes at CenturyLink Field.

With the Sounders taking a break from MLS competition until July 28, Schmid plans to use many of his front-line players in this “friendly”. Schmid doesn’t want a repeat of last summer’s Manchester United game when Seattle collapsed in the second half and lost 7-nil.

Schmid and Seattle general manager Adrian Hanauer had nothing to report on rumors the Sounders are loaning midfielder Alvaro Fernandez to Deportivo Cali of Colombia. Fernandez has one year left on his MLS designated player contract. He trained with Sounders on Tuesday.

Listen for the Ron and Don show live from FX McRory’s starting at 3 p.m. Guests include Sounders principal owner Joe Roth. Play-by-play starts at 6 p.m. on 97.3 KIRO FM.

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