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Former FC Tucson keeper Lapsley trains with Sounders

MLS Preseason

Former FC Tucson keeper Lapsley trains with Sounders

2021 starter puts on gloves for the big time

  • Former FC Tucson keeper Wallis Lapsley during the Sounders-Timbers contest last Wednesday.
    Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.comFormer FC Tucson keeper Wallis Lapsley during the Sounders-Timbers contest last Wednesday.

Wallis Lapsley made 28 appearances for FC Tucson in 2021, but found himself out of contract at the end of the season. He’s taken a step up: competing for a roster spot with two-time MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders while they train at Kino.

It’s a natural place for Lapsley as he already has a relationship with his hometown club.

“I’ve been in contact with Tom Dutra, their goalkeeping coach, since coming out of college,” he said. “I was in their training in 2020 for a few weeks. They needed an extra body for preseason, so super excited for the opportunity.”

Lapsley is one of four goalkeepers in camp with the team. Starts were split last season between the two Stefans, Frei and Thomas, who are both returning to the club. Former Stanford keeper Andrew Thomas is in his second year for the club.

“It’s been fantastic. Tom has been super welcoming and nice,” he said. “Andrew, Stefan Cleveland and Stefan Frei have all been great. They are really talented players, so it’s been great to train with them and learn from them.”

“Anytime you're training with someone like Stefan Frei, who is in his 13th year as a professional, it forces you to raise your level,” he added.

It is not unheard of for a team to have four keepers on the roster. Seattle may do that, given their upcoming schedule. In addition to MLS matches, there is the return of the U.S. Open Cup this year, which the team has always made a high priority (they’ve won it four times). They also have two games in against Honduran side FC Motagua to open CONCACAF Champions League competition this month.

Lapsley did not play in the Seattle-Portland match last week, but may get a chance to play in a closed door match with Colorado on Tuesday. The next preseason contest for the Rave Green will be in Indio, Calif. against the LA Galaxy on the 10th. He’s not sure yet if he’ll get time on the field.

“I don’t know what the plan is yet,” he said. “But my mentality is to show up ready every day and do what is asked to the best of my ability.”

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