Marco Pappa, who was arrested July 19 for DUI and speeding in downtown Seattle, has been cleared by the MLS office to resume team activities, the club said Wednesday.
Pappa was pulled over the morning of July 19 following a 1-0 loss at home to last-place Colorado. According to an arrest report obtained by the Seattle Times, a breathalyzer test administered to the Guatemalan midfielder recorded his BAC at .174, over twice the legal limit.
Per league policy, Pappa was immediately suspended from play pending completion of an assessment by the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (SABH) program.
“Marco has complied with Major League Soccer’s Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, and he is now officially cleared to rejoin Sounders FC and begin participating in team activities,” said GM Garth Lagerway in a statement. “As an organization, we continue to support him.”
Pappa had been absent from the team prior to his arrest, missing two matches due to his time with Guatemala in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. The match against Colorado was Pappa’s first back with the team, where he appeared as a substitute in the 64th minute.
Since his arrest the following morning, Pappa has missed four league matches and Seattle’s first Champions League match while the team went 1-3-1 across all competitions. The Sounders also acquired the services of veteran midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz and new DP Nelson Valdez, who despite being a striker by nature has acknowledged that he could play on the wing if asked.
The new acquisitions could potentially mean that Pappa, 27, might be on the outside looking in for playing time, particularly if his form has deteriorated with a month’s inactivity.
Pappa still must face the legal consequences for his arrest. While the team has made no indication that the midfielder’s arrest and time in rehab will affect his future with the team, Pappa is not out of hot water just yet.
At halftime of the Sounders’ Champions League match against Olimpia, Lagerway spoke to the press regarding Pappa’s return.
“He has been able to work out as part of the program. He looks relatively fit, but we haven’t seen him (play) yet. When we see him and assess him we’ll have a better idea of where he’s at.”
Citing the MLS collective bargaining agreement, Lagerway refused to comment on what Pappa’s rehab had entailed, but did say that the CBA meant that Pappa would not face additional disciplinary action from the team.
“What’s most important is where Marco is mentally and emotionally and that his family’s okay. Part of the collective bargaining agreement is that this is the prescribed action. The SABH program is there for this purpose, he’s completed the program and now he’s back with us.”