Sounders on Campus: Academy alums continue to shine as collegiate regular seasons wind to a close

Handwalla Bwana UW vs. Seattle 2016-09-27

As Sounders FC continues its push toward MLS Cup, a number of youth team products are putting in fine performances of their own at the NCAA level. Former SSFC Academy standouts are playing decisive roles for their teams as they continue their development in collegiate programs.

The starting left back for last year’s Sounders U-18 squad, Nick Hinds, has gone from strength to strength for the University of Akron this season. The freshman defender has cemented his place in the first-choice XI as a left back, but lined up on the right side of defense in a 2-2 draw with Penn State. For both Hinds and the Zips, the move paid dividends as the Florida native tallied his second assist of the season.

A trio of former Rave Green youth team stalwarts got on the score sheet for Seattle University over the past couple of weeks. Star striker David Olsen recorded his fourth assist of the campaign in a 1-1 road draw with Incarnate Word. Meanwhile, defender Kyle Bjornethun grabbed an assist in a 3-0 win over University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, earning him Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Not to be outdone, Bjornethun’s former Sounders Academy teammate Sam Langston set up a score in the Redhawks’ 4-1 win over UNLV. With the assist, Langston now leads all SU defenders in points on the season with two goals and three assists so far.

UCLA winger Seyi Adekoya collected a goal and an assist in his previous two matches for the Bruins. The Lakeside high school alum set up the second goal in a 3-2 loss to Stanford with an audacious no-look volley that his teammate hammered home.

Adekoya then scored the game-winning goal against Coastal Carolina with a powerful drive that nicked the underside of the crossbar before nestling into the back of the net. The potential Homegrown signing now has three goals and two assists from 12 starts for the Bruins.

The University of Washington wrapped up their final road trip of the regular season with consecutive overtime wins over Cal and Stanford. Midfielder Henry Wingo provided his usual blend of power and skill in his box-to-box role for the Huskies. In a closely contested match with Cal, UW won the match in overtime when Wingo’s cheeky first-time shot caught the goalkeeper off guard and the ensuing rebound was tapped in.

Freshman phenom Handwalla Bwana handed Stanford their first loss in conference play when he set up the golden-goal winner in the second minute of extra time. The crafty striker whipped in a pinpoint corner kick that landed on the head of Justin Schmidt, handing the team its twelfth win of the campaign. In his first year with the Huskies, the Sounders Academy product has four goals and seven assists to date.

University of Portland goalkeeper Paul Christensen earned West Coast Conference Player of the Week Honors for his role in back-to-back shutout victories over Loyola Marymount University and University of San Diego. A native of Woodinville, Wash., the former Sounders Academy No. 1 has not allowed a goal in over 270 minutes of action, leading the Pilots to an unbeaten start in conference play. 

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