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Eylander joins Seattle's local contingent
by Ridge Mahoney, January 6th, 2009 7AM



[MLS] The melding of the USL and MLS versions of the Seattle Sounders has added another element, that of goalkeeper Chris Eylander.

Eylander, 24, led the USL in saves the past two seasons, during which the Sounders won a league title (2007) and reached the U.S. Open Cup semifinals both years. His scoreless streak of 453 minutes during the 2007 cup competition included blankings of Chivas USA and Kansas City.

He played three USL-1 seasons after finishing his collegiate career at the University of Washington, and in 78 league matches posted 29 shutouts. He may not get much time as the backup for Kasey Keller but he gives Coach Sigi Schmid a degree of security.

"We're very excited to have Chris join our team," said Schmid, who has also brought on board Eylander's goalkeeper coach in the USL, Tom Dutra. "I've seen him play at the University of Washington and I also followed his career with the USL Sounders. He's a quality goalkeeper and a quality individual for our team."

The local product (Auburn) played four seasons at the University of Washington for Coach Dean Wurzberger, who served three seasons as Schmid's assistant coach at UCLA from 1986 to 1988.

The Sounders-Bruins connection includes one of Schmid's former college players, technical director and former U.S. international Chris Henderson, another product of Washington state.

"Having played for the USL Sounders the past three years and having grown up in the area, I had always wanted to play in MLS," Eylander said. "To reach that goal and do so by playing for the first MLS team in Seattle is really, really special for me and very exciting."

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