Invested in the future: Sounders look to S2 as next step in player development

Press Conference 1208

The 2015 season will be big for Sounders FC in a lot of ways. One of the club’s major storylines next season is the introduction of S2, the new Sounders FC USL PRO team.

S2 primarily serves Sounders FC as a development tool to provide competitive and meaningful match experience for promising Academy players, as well as certain First Team players.

Sounders FC’s new investment in youth development has a lot of people excited, including Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer.

“Youth development is something we continue to invest an enormous amount of time, money and energy on,” said Hanauer at last week’s end-of-season press conference. “The fruits of that labor will hopefully come in the likes of Victor Mansaray, who we just signed and who will start with the team in preseason in January. I am sure Victor would like to play with the MLS team where we he can be in the 18 or starting XI, but if he’s not, he has S2 where he can develop.”

In November, 17-year-old Mansaray signed as Seattle’s fourth Homegrown Player following an impressive few seasons with the Sounders FC Academy.

“I think those are huge moments for our club,” said Sounders FC Sporting Director Chris Henderson of the Homegrown signing.

In the past, the Sounders have sent players like Lamar Neagle across the country to teams like Charleston Battery, another USL PRO team, to develop or rehabilitate in competitive environments. By fielding their own team close to home in the same league, Sounders FC can keep a closer watch on developing players, bring S2 players into First Team training and call players up without worrying about fatigue and fitness loss due to travel.

“It’s going be a huge plus for us as a club,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid. “When we don’t have the roster place to add developing players to our roster, we’re going to be able to say, ‘Hey, we have a place for you right here, it’s right next to us, we can see you play every weekend and see you develop and train.’”

With the addition of S2, fans will have at least 14 additional chances to see the Rave Green in action. The team will train and play all home matches at Starfire Sports in Tukwila. The venue will also host Sounders FC and S2 home Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches.

“It’s going to make the whole development process so much more efficient and so much better for the young players,” Schmid added.

For fans looking for even more chances to catch Sounders FC soccer, 2015 is going to be very bright.

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