The Seattle Sounders announced on Wednesday afternoon that midfielder Marco Pappa has completed the mandatory Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program, and is cleared to rejoin team activities. While eligible to play immediately in the CONCACAF Champions League match against Olimpia, Pappa has not trained with the team since his arrest on July 19th.
Pappa will return to a team quite different than the one he left, including additional competition for his starting role in the midfield. New signings Andreas Ivanschitz and Nelson Valdez will likely both compete for minutes in the midfield, while Erik Friberg has come on strong in his absence. With five matches coming up in the next 17 days, his return should provide valuable depth during a critical point in the season.
As you may or may not know, Pappa was pulled over on the morning of July 19th for driving erratically down Interstate-5. The officer noticed a strong odor of intoxicants coming from his car and after a field sobriety test he arrested the midfielder. He was given a blood test and his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit.
After the news of the arrest was made public, Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmidt spoke to the Seattle Times and said the team he will support Pappa. He said, “He’s a teammate, and we need to support him. I think all of us, individually, have either known somebody or somebody that we were related to that went through something like this, or another difficult situation like this. Right now he needs our support to come through this at the other end as a stronger person.”
DUIs can often be indicators of a person having a more serious problem although the DUI in itself is something very serious. The consequences of Pappa’s poor decision making could have been much more than just an arrest so thankfully no one was hurt on that night. We wish Pappa the best in his placement in the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program and we hope that he never makes the same mistake again.
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