Evans sat down for an extended interview at the team hotel in Tucson, Ariz., during training camp last week, discussing the captain’s armband, his positional purgatory and whether his Seattle tenure could be nearing its end.

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These Sounders do not easily rattle.

This a seasoned group, filled with veterans of soccer wars, both domestic and abroad. Big speeches aren’t really their thing, and equilibrium remains relatively stable after both regular-season losses and playoff triumphs. Even Ozzie Alonso, an old-school brawler of a defensive midfielder, has mellowed with age and family.

Such is the sense of maturity pumping through the locker room vents, goalkeeper Stefan Frei says, that, “We always say that when someone joins this team it takes a year, max, until they’re either engaged or they’re married.”

Sounders’ MLS opener

vs. Sporting Kansas City, Sunday March 6, 4 p.m.

All of which makes the influence of longtime captain Brad Evans all the more valuable. No, he’s probably not going to go all “Braveheart” in the locker room before games, but Evans remains the team’s heartbeat and the chip on its collective shoulder.

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But at age 30, and following the acquisition of center back Roman Torres during last summer’s transfer window, Evans’ place within the Sounders is as insecure as ever. He again has to start over on defense and prove his worth.

Evans sat down for an extended interview at the team hotel in Tucson, Ariz., during training camp last week, discussing the captain’s armband, his positional purgatory and whether his Seattle tenure could be nearing its end.

Question: You just got back from yet another U.S. national-team camp. Do you ever notice the criticism and grumbles from fans when you earn a call-up?

Answer: That’s my whole career. The only thing I have to remember is that it keeps happening. I just have to tell myself to go in and prove myself and do my job. … If there’s somebody else out there that can do it better, then step in and do it.

For me, if I get called right now, it’s awesome. I’ll try to prove myself and be as consistent as possible. And if I don’t, then I’m going to focus on Sounders and what we’re trying to build here. Right now, that’s not the end-all-be-all for me. I’ve always thought that if you performed well for your club, you’d get called in for your country. That’s kind of what I’ve always banked on.

Q: There are various definitions of the proper role of a captain in this sport. How would you define it?

A: When (former Sounders attacker Fredy) Montero was here, he said something like he wanted the captain’s armband because it felt like it would make him play better or something like that. I don’t view it that way. I don’t view the armband as a special power. I don’t view it like I should play any better.

When you look back on your career in 15, 20 years, it’s something you want to tell your grandkids about. “That was a big deal back then.” As we watch the league grow, that’s something that will be special to me. Wearing it for six months isn’t the same as wearing it for a couple of years. It’s definitely something to hang your hat on. It’s not a superpower, but it’s somebody who wants to represent the team in the right way, and the city, most importantly. That’s what it’s all about.

A quiet confidence

Evans has a way of maintaining eye contact that gives the impression of complete attention.

He uses his hands to accentuate certain points, and though the volume of his voice doesn’t change much, sentences come out in a rush when he’s passionate about something. It’s easy to see why Evans is such a respected diplomat in player/referee relations as well as the team’s.

Q: From the outside, your team’s maturity can sometimes come across as a lack of passion. Is that impression unfair?

A: I don’t know if there’s a good answer to that. With our team, we know what we can do. We were seconds away from making it to the conference final. Portland was two posts away from not even making it to the conference semifinals, then they go on and win (MLS Cup). What can you do? We can get pissed off, and we can take that to heart and come out flying the next year.

Maybe it’s from playing a long time here that we know we’re going to get results no matter what. Are we going to go undefeated? No. That’s not realistic. In the first year, in 2009, we were a bit naïve. We didn’t really know what we were getting into. Somehow we got the job done. The team wasn’t nearly as good as we are now, but maybe we had that chip on our shoulder. Guys had been left off in the expansion draft. Maybe we had something to prove then. Now, this year becomes, “OK, what can we prove this year?”

Final season in Seattle?

Few players have as much on the line this campaign as Evans.

Before last season, plenty was said about his shift from hole-plugging utility man into a full-time central defender. That conversation changed when the Sounders signed Torres, a respected Panamanian international who jumped Evans on the depth chart the minute he stepped off the plane.

Torres played in just four games for the Sounders last year before suffering a season-ending knee injury, and he isn’t expected to be healthy until this summer at the earliest. Whether Evans shifts back to the midfield or out wide once Torres returns remains to be seen.

Q: What was your initial impression to the Torres move?

A: When (former Sounder Christian) Tiffert was brought in, no coach and no GM told me that they were going to make a move for a DP midfielder, so I was pissed. “You guys don’t want to talk to me, you don’t want to tell me anything, that you’re going to bring in somebody else in my position?” All right, I’m going to be pissed off, but at the end of the day I’ve always put the club above (myself) and found my way onto the field.

Same thing with last year. It wasn’t even on my radar that that was the thought process. Nobody told me they were going to bring in another center back, so obviously I was pissed. But find another place on the field. I’ll be 31 in a couple of weeks. If I don’t fit in, then there are probably other teams where I could fit in and find my way on the field. I don’t have any kids, you know? For me, if they want to bring in another player and they don’t see me on the field, then it is what it is.

Q: You’ve been here for seven-plus seasons. Is it strange potentially picturing yourself in another jersey? And that another tie to the original Sounders could be broken?

A: Yeah, it would be crazy. It would be weird.

That will be a very weird day. And it will happen on the coaching staff and on the players’ staff. It’s going to be interesting when all that shifts and changes. It’s going to be a weird dynamic for me watching from the outside. But that happens with every single team, all around the world. Philosophies change. But it is going to be a very weird change when all the original Sounders are gone. You hope to stick around in some capacity to keep it going.