BY Stanley Holmes 02:59PM 02/26/2011

The Trialist is on fire for the Sounders

Twitter buzzes about “The Trialist” whose mysterious circumstances overshadowed a ho-hum 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

The battle goes on during a training game against UCF, but The Trialist is nowhere to be seen / Sounders FC

The Trialist doesn’t need to kick the ball to score. He just glares — and the ball finds the net.

The Trialist takes the pitch — and the Chicago defenders lie down and surrender.

The Trialist once scored a goal from his own half — off a throw-in.

He’s called the Trialist, not because teams want to try him out, but because he puts entire teams on trial for himself.

The Seattle Sounders, which beat the Chicago Fire 1-0 in a Saturday preseason match, generated some humor Saturday.  The Twitter world went aflutter when the Sounders (musical score build-up begins here) announced that a mystery player would wage battle against The Fire, and they called him The Trialist.

Yes, Sounders fans. Could this really be The One?

We’ve been waiting for this, this force ever since the false prophet of footy — Freddie L. — skipped town on us last year. But we don’t know because no one is talking. The Sounders requested that this person remain unidentified. And certainly there is a tradition in professional soccer to keep some players’ names a secret — and the Sounders have brought in unnamed trialists before — still this time it took on a life of its own on Twitter.

Several local bloggers — led by @Sounderatheart and @LevesquesStache-– seized on the evident humor and irony. Mystery player? C’mon. This is the age of Facebook, Twitter and constant RSS streams. How can anyone — particularly a professional athlete — remain unidentified in our 24/7 instant news culture? Equally amusing were many tweets poking fun at fans for reading too much into The Trialist becoming the team’s next super star, said Dave Clark, of Sounderatheart, the provocateur who penned many of the best tweets for The Trialist, which can be found on Twitter.

It began innocently enough. The Trialist first appeared as The Trialist on the Sounders live blog, introducing him in the training match against the young college boys at University of Central Florida. He was introduced again when he started the second half against the Fire as a right midfielder. That’s when the tweets really started to fly.

In the 46th minute of a ho-hum preseason match under the warm Florida skies, the Sounders live blogger announced this:

“One change for Seattle: The Trialist is in for Alvaro Fernandez. He is playing on the right wing.”

The tweets started pouring in.

“When Sigi calls for subs, he first glances towards The Trialist who closes his eyes, crosses his arms and nods in approval,” says @LikkitP, on Twitter.

“Matt, is The Trialist famous?” asked Ultramarine, following the Sounders’ live blog of the the Fire match, contested at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FLA.

Of course, The Trialist remained shrouded in mystery, while trying out for the team. Or, perhaps as @reesbw wondered, he is putting the Sounders on trial “for himself.”

We don’t know much, of course, for The Trialist is apparently a man of few words. But he apparently is a man of sufficient worlds that the Sounders want to keep him quiet for now while he displays his prodigious skills. Or maybe he’s not.

The Trialist is supposed to be named next week (pending FO approval), and then he will be displayed for all to behold and admire, or maybe just fall down, chuckling.

Who knows? I’m just sorry that we’ll never see another Trialist quite like this one — who generated some fun tweets — whoever he or she may be.


  • Finn

    The Finalist is really the Stig!!!

  • There are legitimate reasons for the Sounders, and other MLS teams, to not name trialists. They have been laid out before, but here’s a link that makes it clear as to why.

    Likkit and I were chatting about the whole thing and started the #TheTrialist when he first appeared in the UCF game.

    I had intended it more as a mocking of the people who automatically assume that a player on trial now (almost certainly not under contract anywhere in the world) would be a season changer. While there is a chance it is more likely that the unnamed trialist is of similar quality to Lamar Neagle, Jonathan Prieto, Seedy Bah and others that were eventually named.

    But in the end – #TheTrialist is the greatest thing since sliced bread – and so people picked up on it, had fun with it and made it a tweetmeme much greater than I had ever intended.

  • Pingback: Exit 164: Huskies Flop, Mariners Flourish |