How long have you participated in the Sounders FC Youth Development Program? From the start of the program, 2 ½ years.
What Regional Training Center are you currently a part of? Central at Starfire
What were some of your favorite memories / coaches at the YDP? My favorite memories were being coached by Tom Dutra in the very beginning and also being able to work out and play on the best soccer fields. My favorite goalkeeper coaches were, Tom Dutra, Matt Olsen and Ben Dragavon. These coaches always pushed me to do my best at all times and taught me skills that make me who I am today on the soccer field and in the goal box. Without the help and skills from these coaches at YDP, I would have never made the Elite Player Development Program.
How did training in the YDP help your game progress? The YDP helped my game progress because the more training I got, the more saves I was able to accomplish. They have helped me anticipate the next play in the box, help me understand where I should position my body and how to speak up as a goalie to direct my players by telling them if a player is coming up on the side or behind them. Soccer is all about communication with your team. I have also gotten better at sliding for the ball on 1 v 1 and learned to cut off angles. Coaches always kept me motivated with good advice, which has made me a better player and a team leader today.
How did it help you at the RTC level? The YDP has given me the confidence to try my hardest at my position on the soccer field. The YDP was a stepping stone for me to get to the RTC and it took a lot of commitment and time to make it. Once accepted into the RTC my goal keeping coach was Brendan Bourdage. He is the goalie coach at the University of Washington and he has taught me a lot. He has shown me techniques on how to catch, block and deflect the ball. This is important so the other team doesn’t get the ball and score. He has given me pointers on how to throw the ball more accurate towards my team members.
Can you provide any advice to younger, less experienced kids interested in the Sounders FC Youth Development Programs? Join the Sounders FC YDP to get training from the most experienced coaches, learn to work as a team and individual. The YDP is where you listen, learn and experience the game. It’s not always about winning it’s about the skill and effort you put into the game. Set goals and work towards them, never give up, and always do your best because you never know who could be watching you. Just keep doing what you love.