On Wednesday, the squad of Seattle Sounders FC met up with their newest addition, Blaise Nkufo, in Washington, D.C. Nkufo was signed in March, but was unable to join the team until now-he first needed to guide his former club, FC Twente, to a league title, and then help Switzerland defeat the now-World Champions, Spain, in their first World Cup match.
Today, July 15th, marks the opening of the summer transfer window, and the Sounders' newest forward will be eligible to play as long as his ITC (International Transfer Clearance) comes through. However, judging from comments made both by Sigi Schmid, it is unlikely that Nkufo will start in tonight's game against D.C. United, although Sounders fans might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of him coming off the bench.
Until then, make do with this, the first in a series of Get-To-Know-A-Sounder Profiles
Name: Blaise Isetsima Nkufo (pronounced koo-fo)
Nationality: Congolese but plays for the Swiss National Team
Previous Clubs: Prior to coming to Seattle, Nkufo had played for ten clubs, nine of them within a ten year span. From 1993-2003, Nkufo played for Swiss teams Lausanne Sport and FC Echallens, Qatari club al-Arabi, back to Switzerland to play for Yverdon-Sport FC before a brief stint at Lausanne again, then to the wonderfully named Grasshopper-Club Zurich, who loaned him to AC Lugano. From there, Nkufo headed to Germany to play for Mainze 05 and Hanover 96. In 2003, he moved to the Netherlands, where he spent the last seven years at FC Twente, helping them win the Eredivisie (Dutch league) title last season.
In Ten Words Or Less, Blaise Nkufo is: the all-time goal scorer for FC Twente with 114.
Why You'll Like Him: An intelligent player who knows both how to set up a goal and how to be in the perfect position to score one himself.
Why You'll Hate Him: Rather than making up a little dance or ripping off his shirt to celebrate his goals, Nkufo just puts on a big grin. C'mon, how many strikers are just happy to contribute to their team?
Fun Bar Trivia: While it was Cristiano Ronaldo who fantasized about having a statue built in his honor in the Nike Write the Future ad, FC Twente actually did construct a likeness of Blaise Nkufo. The bronze statue now sits outside De Grolsch Veste and was funded entirely by the club's supporters.