As the beginning of the USL PRO season creeps closer, S2 Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson has been busy looking for players to build a roster for the newest team in the Sounders FC organization.
Entering his first year as Head Coach, Hendrickson has been across the country and even gone international in this short offseason, constantly on the hunt for players who will play in the inaugural S2 campaign in 2015. All the travel has kept the former Sounders FC Reserve Head Coach and First Team Assistant Coach pretty busy.
“We have had a combine and open tryouts in Vegas, I went to the MLS Caribbean Combine, I went to the InfoSport Combine and the MLS Combine just looking for players for next year,” said Hendrickson. “We have done the best we can as far as identifying talent and identifying players that fit the mold of S2.”
Hendrickson, along with Sounders FC Head Scout Kurt Schmid and S2 General Manager Andrew Opatkiewicz, was present at the Las Vegas Open Tryouts last month that drew more than 80 participants, all vying for a chance to join the organization.
“We have a group of those players on paper, now it’s just a matter of getting them into camp and selecting the best players we see,” said Hendrickson.
With an expected USL PRO schedule announcement coming soon, things are starting to take shape for the upcoming season. Yesterday the league announced the new conference alignment and playoff structure, which sees S2 playing in the newly formed Western Conference with Cascadia rivals and defending USL PRO champions Sacramento Republic, among others.
With support from the First Team, Hendrickson doesn’t seem worried about the competition.
“Any time you start up any type of club or business, the first year there will be growing pains,” he said. “I think we have a good infrastructure here with the Sounders that S2 is getting help from all aspects of the organization.”
The next item on the agenda for Hendrickson and the S2 staff is open tryouts at Starfire Sports on February 13-14.
“There are a lot of good, young local players, and we expect players from all over the country because young players from all over want to be a part of this organization,” said Hendrickson. “I think we are expecting a large number of excited, enthusiastic young players who want to come and show what they’re worth and try to make it with the Sounders.”
The coach emphasizes that they are looking for “young players with high ceilings.”
“We are looking for players that we see within a year or two who can be representing the First Team and becoming an MLS professional,” he said.
In two months, the season will officially begin. Development will start for the young players who he has travelled thousands of miles to scout, and S2 will start a new chapter in Sounders FC history.
“I’m looking forward to the season,” Hendrickson said. “There will be some great games this year.”