Four standouts from the Seattle Sounders Academy — Homegrown players Danny Leyva and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, U-17 midfielder Ethan Dobbelaere and U-15 center back Angel Martinez — have been called up to the United States youth national teams this week.
Leyva, 16, and Ocampo-Chavez, 17, have burst onto the scene in recent months. Both players were integral components of the U.S. U-17 men’s national team that finished second at the 2019 Concacaf Championships, securing a spot at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in October.
The camp will take place at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., running from July 26 to August 7.
“Danny and Alfonso [getting called up] is no surprise,” said Sounders Director of Player Development and Academy Director Marc Nicholls. “It just shows how far those guys have come, not only with their national team career, but also with the way they are progressing as young professionals.”
A cerebral, technical, box-to-box midfielder, Leyva has played 188 minutes in the MLS regular season, including two starts in wins over the Vancouver Whitecaps and Columbus Crew SC. Squaring off against some of the top talents in the global game, the Las Vegas native impressed once again in a 90-minute shift in a friendly against Borussia Dortmund.
Joining Leyva in his meteoric ascent from the youth ranks to the Sounders First Team is Ocampo-Chavez, who earned his first MLS start in the 1-0 win over Crew SC.
The Merced, Calif., native showed plenty of promise against Dortmund as well, supplying clever runs and nearly scoring a wonder-goal from 25-yards out. On Wednesday night, he took another massive step forward in his career, as he scored his first and second professional goals in a 4-1 win for the Tacoma Defiance over Las Vegas Lights FC.
The U.S. U-17 domestic camp marks the first USYNT involvement for Dobbelaere, who turned plenty of heads with his electric performances at the Generation adidas Cup.
“We think Ethan has big potential,” added Nicholls. “He’s showing some real promise and we were delighted for him to make his debut with the Defiance. We’ve known about Ethan and his abilities for a long time, so it’s good to see him come through and catch the eye in the last domestic camp before a World Cup.”
A versatile midfielder who can line up centrally or out wide, Dobbelaere was a game-changer in wins over River Plate (ARG), West Ham (ENG) and CF Valencia (ESP). The Seattle United alum made his professional debut on Wednesday night, coming on as a substitute in the 81st minute for the Defiance.
Martinez will once again play one year up at the national team level, having received his first U.S. U-15 call-up for an international trip to Italy in April.
“It’s great for Angel, playing up at the national team level against Concacaf competition,” said Nicholls. “He’s had lots of experience in international tournaments, with the Man City Cup and Youdan Trophy. He’s been training with the Defiance in preparation for the tournament, and he hasn’t looked out of place.”
The technical, 14-year-old center back is one of 18 players who will travel with the U.S. for the U-15 Concacaf Championships, running from August 4-11.