Seattle Sounders FC has extended the contract of goals leader Obafemi Martins and is working to do the same with head coach Sigi Schmid.
The club announced Tuesday that Martins had signed a multiyear extension to the designated player contract originally struck in March 2013. The Sounders did not announce length or terms, but Martins indicated the new deal runs for three more seasons.
Tuesday also was Martins’ 30th birthday, and he said it was a happy one.
“I’m glad I’m going to be with the team for a long time,” he said. “… I enjoy playing with the team and love the fans as well. I’m happy to still play here for years. I hope to be here for three years, as the contract says.”
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Martins is a citizen of Nigeria who came to Major League Soccer after playing professionally in Italy, England, Germany, Russia and Spain.
He scored eight goals in his first MLS season, and increased that to a club-record 17 this season. Those 25 goals already place him second on the Sounders’ career list behind Fredy Montero’s 47. Seattle has an all-time record of 19-0-0 in games when Martins has scored.
This season, he also matched the club record with 13 assists in helping lead the Sounders to the best record in the regular season and top seeding in the playoffs.
According to the MLS Players Union, Martins makes a salary of $1,620,000 and receives total compensation of $1,753,333, second on the team behind Clint Dempsey. ESPN reported the new contract will roughly double those totals.
“Oba has had a wonderful year for us this year, and we hope he has many more like that,” Schmid said. “He’s a guy that we wanted to keep. … He comes out and he gives you an effort every time he steps out on the field, so it’s great that he’s going to be sticking around.”
Just minutes after Schmid said that, general manager Adrian Hanauer made clear that he wants Schmid to stick around, also.
“For me, he’s the coach of the year,” Hanauer said. “He’s shown once again that changes can occur, that older dogs can learn new tricks. He’s open to new ideas. … His quality and his breadth of skill set in the MLS environment is to me top of the heap in our league. … We’re speaking with Sigi at this point and very enthusiastic and encouraged about the prospect of retaining him for more years.”
Later in the day, Schmid indicated that he also wants that to happen, telling the Sounders at Heart website that he would like to end his career in Seattle.
The Sounders will learn their Western Conference semifinal opponent Wednesday night when fifth-seeded Vancouver visits fourth-seeded FC Dallas. The Sounders went 2-1 against Dallas during the regular season and 0-2-1 against the Whitecaps. “It doesn’t matter,” Schmid said. “We lost to both of them last time we played them, so that’s good. I always rather play a team that we lost to the last time because I know my guys and I know their motivation and their character and their beliefs. That will get them motivation and get them ready to go.” The Sounders open their two-game, aggregate-score series with the road leg at 6 p.m. Sunday. … Midfielder Brad Evans (groin) and central defender Chad Marshall (neck) were limited in training Tuesday, but Schmid said both are expected to be ready for the weekend.