The Kids Are Alright
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
The Sounders FC Academy has produced three players that will compete in the NCAA Tournament and hosts of others who had successful first years at the collegiate level.
The Sounders FC’s success at the MLS, Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League levels weren’t their only realms of achievement.
Three graduates of the Sounders FC Academy are now preparing for the NCAA National Championship tournament, beginning with games on Thursday.
Nick Palodichuk of Duke, DeAndre Yedlin of Akron and Sean Okoli of Wake Forest all had successful stints in the regular season for their teams and now are set for the national tournament.
Palodichuk, a midfielder who was the Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2010 out of Camas High School, helped Duke to a 10-7-3 record and earned All-ACC second team honors with seven goals and six assists, starting all 20 matches. His Blue Devils will meet Georgia State in the first round of the tournament Thursday at 4 pm Pacific Time.
Yedlin, a defender from O’Dea, was a first-team All-MAC defender for the Zips. He started 17 out of their 20 matches, finishing with one goal and five assists to lift Akron to a 13-3-4 record. They will look to repeat as National Champions by starting out the tournament Thursday at 4:30 Pacific against Northwestern.
Okoli, a forward from Beamer High School, was named to the ACC All-Freshman first team after posting four goals and two assists for Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons finished 8-7-4 and will meet South Carolina on Thursday at 4 pm Pacific in the first round of the tournament.
“We are extremely proud of the student athletes from the Sounders FC Academy participating in college soccer this fall,” Sounders FC director of youth development Darren Sawatzky said. “Some of these young men have enjoyed stellar fall seasons and continue to grow on and off the field.”
The NCAA Tournament consists of 48 teams. The College Cup will be December 11 in Hoover, Alabama.
Those three may have had the most team success among the nine Sounders Academy products who are now playing NCAA Division I soccer, but they were far from the only players to have good freshman seasons.
Midfielder Troy Peterson was named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman team after notching a team-high six goals for College of Charleston. However, the Cougars finished just 5-8-5 on the season.
Midfielder Glen Paden made 12 appearances for the Oregon State Beavers, starting for the first time in the season finale. OSU finished 5-11-2 on the season.
Goalkeeper Rodney Greiling started six matches for Florida International, posting two shutouts while going 1-3-1 with a 2.15 goals against average.
Defender Brandon Brockway (Oregon State), goalkeeper Ryan Herman (Santa Clara) and defender Drew White (Washington) all did not play this season and have the option to red-shirt.
At the Division II level, Evan Robicheau and Chase Hanson both saw successful first seasons at Seattle Pacific University and Barry University, respectively. Robicheau had a goal and three assists as SPU finished 14-4-2, falling in the West regional final to Cal State Los Angeles. Hanson had one assist in helping Barry to a 12-3-6 record, starting 15 of his 19 appearances. Barry, too, fell in the regional final, dropping a PK decision to Lynn in the South region.
At the NAIA level, Nate Boatright had a goal and three assists for Concordia University, who finished the year at 16-1-1 and will meet Great Falls in the first round of the NAIA National Tournament on Saturday.
Darwin Jones also had a successful season for Highline Community College, tallying 14 goals and seven assists in just 15 matches. Highline will face Olympic College on Friday at Starfire in the NWAACC semifinal. The championship will be played at 3:30 on Saturday at Starfire.