Seattle Sounders add speedy forward Oalex Anderson ahead of MLS opener

The Seattle Sounders added a youthful and promising piece to their puzzle on Major League Soccer’s final day to become salary cap compliant Tuesday, signing speedy forward Oalex Anderson to a contract just six days before opening the MLS regular season.

The 20-year-old Anderson is the second player to make the leap from the franchise’s developmental ranks to the first team, less than a year after signing a contract with the club’s USL team, S2. Anderson scored four goals in 16 appearances for S2 last year, helping the club qualify for the postseason in its first year of existence.

"It’s exciting to see our development system at work in signing one of our standout S2 players to the first team," Sounders GM and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said. "Oalex has a lot of potential, which he showed last season, and we’re happy to have him join the senior squad ahead of the 2016 MLS season."

A native of the tiny Caribbean nation St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Anderson was originally invited to Seattle a year ago by S2 head coach Ezra Hendrickson, who is an assistant coach on the Vincentian national team. Anderson has scored 10 goals in 20 career appearances for the Vincy Heat, including a fantastic individual effort in the team’s World Cup qualifying match against the United States in November.

“Oalex is an incredibly special player, and he can do some incredible things on the field,” Hendrickson said of Anderson last summer. “We believe his future is bright with this club, and he will be with the organization for a long time to come.”

Anderson joins fellow forward Andy Craven as the only players to make the jump from S2 to the Sounders. He’s expected to be available for the Sounders’ MLS regular-season opener against Sporting Kansas City at CenturyLink Field on Sunday (4 p.m. PT; FS1/KIRO 97.3 FM/El Rey 1360 AM).

The Sounders also announced Tuesday that they have loaned defender Jimmy Ockford to NASL side New York Cosmos, while Homegrown Player Jordan Schweitzer has been waived by the first team and subsequently added to S2’s roster for 2016.

A third-year pro with the Rave Green, Ockford previously spent the 2014 season on loan with the Cosmos, scoring two goals in 10 regular season appearances for the club, adding an additional strike in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play.

Schweitzer was signed by the Sounders in January after a standout collegiate career at the University of Denver. After being waived by the first team, Schweitzer is expected to be a focal point during the second season for S2, which begins March 25 against Sacramento Republic FC at the Starfire Sports in suburban Tukwila.