It has been quite an eventful fall for the Sounders FC Academy. From alumni at the professional and collegiate levels to the current crop of young talent competing in the current Academy season, the last few months have provided a myriad of highlights for the club’s development system.
Homegrown Players Help Sounders FC to Historic Season
DeAndre Yedlin, Aaron Kovar and Sean Okoli helped Sounders FC to its most successful season yet in 2014. Seattle won its fourth Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title and first Supporters’ Shield, in addition to a deep playoff run that ended in the Western Conference Championship.
Yedlin made 32 appearances across all competitions, recording four assists, and earlier this month was voted 2014 U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year. Okoli scored one goal and Kovar recorded one assist as each appeared in four matches across all competitions.
Morris Excels at Stanford and with USMNT
Academy alum and Stanford striker Jordan Morris had a breakout fall. In addition to two U.S. Men’s National call-ups and earning his first cap in November, the Mercer Island native accumulated a slew of postseason collegiate accolades. Morris is a finalist for the prestigious MAC Herman Trophy awarded to the best player in college soccer. He also received NSCAA/Continental Tire First Team All-American recognition in addition to All-Pac-12 First Team honors.
Jones, Lange and Adekoya Earn All-Pac-12 Honors
Academy graduates and current University of Washington players Darwin Jones and Ian Lange earned All-Pac-12 Honors, with Jones earning first team recognition and Lange receiving an Honorable Mention. Jones also earned NSCAA All-West Second Team Honors. Academy alum and UCLA freshman Seyi Adekoya was placed on the All-Pac-12 Second Team after helping the Bruins reach the NCAA College Cup.
Mansaray Starts For U.S. U-18s in Win Over Germany
Striker Victor Mansaray, who became the youngest player in Sounders FC history to sign a Homegrown Player contract on November 5, tallied 3 goals and an assist at the annual U.S. Soccer Winter Showcase in November. He then received an invite into the U.S. U-18 camp in Spain, where he started in in a 2-1 win over the Germany U-18s in an international friendly. Mansaray will be officially added to the first team’s roster on January 1.
U-18s, U-16s, and U-14s Head into Midseason Break in Good Form
The U-18s end the first half of their season second in the USSDA Northwest Division at 10-3-1, trailing first-place Vancouver Whitecaps FC by four points. The U-18s have played consistently this season and ended 2014 by winning eight of the last ten matches. Striker Sean Bowman leads the U-18s with 12 goals, ranking among the top 10 league-wide.
The U-16s are fourth in the USSDA Northwest Division at 6-5-3, but had a strong showing at the recent Winter Showcase event and ended the year on a high note with four wins in their last five matches. One highlight of the season has been the inclusion of three players from the U-14 age group—Khai Brisco, Cameron Martin, and Roger Pulido—who have received significant minutes and contributed solid performances of recent. The squad will look to continue that form going into 2015 with league matches and the second Regional Generation Adidas event in January.
The U-14s will wrap up the 2014 season undefeated in the Far West Regional League, a significant achievement for the squad given that the team plays in the U-15 division. The U-14s went 1-1-1 at the U.S. Soccer regional showcase, earning a resilient come-from-behind win over an impressive Real So Cal side. The team will look to build upon this momentum in the new year as they continue league play and begin early preparations for international competitions in both Iceland and France in late May.
Sounders Development Program Off to Good Start
As the Academy wraps up the inaugural Sounders Development Program’s fall season, the staff have been able to reflect upon the program’s great gains the program since its introduction in August.
“We have been delighted with our new SDP initiative,” said Sounders FC Academy Technical Director Marc Nicholls. “By working with our partner clubs we have been able to develop and identify potential Academy players. The program is an excellent first step for any young player who aspires to be a Sounder.”
The program takes advantage of various opportunities to call upon participants in the 2001-2002 age groups to train and compete in matches with the U-14 Academy team.