Sounders FC 2 News

S2 finding its stride behind success from internationally scouted players

Chenkam 5.2

TUKWILA, Wash. - After an inconsistent start to the 2017 USL season, S2 is finally beginning to hit its stride.

An impressive victory on the road over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in Winterfell-esque weather conditions was followed quickly by a massive win at Starfire stadium over bitter-rivals Portland Timbers 2.

Forward Felix Chenkam led the line as the starting No. 9 for S2 in both affairs.

Chenkam, 19, is just the latest product of the Sounders organization’s expansive scouting network. While most USL sides mine college soccer for underrated talent -- S2 certainly does this as well -- the Rave Green have turned their eyes abroad in search of the next prospect to sign. 

There are two primary scouting pools which the Sounders organization has used to unearth talent far better than any other club in the Americas: the Caribbean and Cameroon. Through S2 Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson, as well as a strategic partnership with Cameroonian-side Rainbow FC, the club has been able to sign some truly exciting prospects with the potential to become first-team contributors.

“We have a lot of talented young players [from the Caribbean and Cameroon] that represent their U-20 national teams,” said Hendrickson. “They’re going to help the team because they’re very talented players.”

While the approach to building S2’s roster has shifted in recent years, one constant remains: tapping into the well of undervalued players from the Caribbean and Cameroon and developing them into first-team players.

Two of the three players signed from S2 to first-team contracts in the offseason, left back Nouhou and right back Jordy Delem, were scouted and signed from these areas. Mark O’Ojong, a full-fledged Cameroon international who signed alongside Nouhou from Rainbow FC, made the USL “20 under 20” list for his performances in S2’s midfield.

“Ezra has done a good job of going down to the Caribbean and picking out guys that are talented from a group that’s not quite as heavily mined as other parts of the world,” said Sounders FC Director of Player Personnel Kurt Schmid. “He’s been able to pick out some less heralded guys that represent great value for us.

“We’ve formed a little bit of a comfortable relationship with some people over [in Cameroon] that have a good feel for what we’re looking for,” Schmid continued. “The conditions are usually right to bring them over to S2 and give them a shot with that group.”

The current crop of players may be the most promising bunch yet. 

Nouhou was a two-way force at left back, scoring his first professional goal and generating a host of chances, before suffering a shoulder injury. Rodrigue Ele possesses all of the raw tools to be an elite, modern center back -- vision, composure, 1v1 defending and an ability to play out of the back. 

Denso Ulysse, an 18-year-old from Haiti, has impressed in his appearances at right back since returning from injury, while Javorn Stevens has shown glimpses of his vast potential at striker. Chenkam, who along with Ele joined from Rainbow FC, is the joint-leading scorer for S2 and has demonstrated a well-rounded skill set up top.

The primary focus of S2 is player development. And with so many prospects signed from abroad who possess incredibly high ceilings, the future of the first team looks truly bright.



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