Trinidad and Tobago striker Kerry Baptiste has joined the Seattle Sounders at their Casa Grande, Ariz., preseason camp as a training invitee, the club announced. The 29-year-old is available on a free transfer after his contract with T&T club Joe Public expired.
A prolific goal-scorer, Baptiste notched an astonishing 35 goals in the 2009 Pro League season for Joe Public, where he played the past four seasons. Baptiste scored a goal on Santos Laguna in the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League last fall; he also played in both matches against Columbus in the tournament.
According to reports out of his home nation, Baptiste has been trying to engineer a move to a larger league since last winter. Other MLS clubs are allegedly interested in the striker, according to the Trinidadian reports.
First capped in 2003, Baptiste has scored five goals in 39 games for the T&T national team, according to the Trinidadian federation. He was also part of the Trinidad team that participated in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Seattle currently have five pedigreed strikers in the Arizona training camp. Designated players Fredy Montero (age 23) and Blaise Nkufo (35) are expected to lead the line, with Mike Fucito (24), O'Brian White (25) and Roger Levesque (30) also challenging. A sixth striker, Nate Jaqua (29), is currently in Seattle doing one-on-one work with a Sounders trainer as he attempts to recover from the hip injury that limited him in 2010.
General manager Adrian Hanauer has noted that Seattle is extremely cap-constrained, so it would be likely that a roster move would be necessary to add Baptiste.
Five players are no longer training with Seattle: Alex Caskey, supplemental pick Sean Morris and invitees Edouard Kabamba, Cole Peverley and Jesus Gonzalez.