Sounders on Campus: Academy products continue to shine for top collegiate programs

Handwalla Bwana UW vs. Seattle 2016-09-27

Jackson Ragen (Center back, University of Michigan)

After a slow start to the 2017 season, Seattle native Jackson Ragen has managed to break into the starting lineup for the No. 12-ranked Wolverines. Ragen, who starred for the Sounders Academy U-18s in their run to a third-place finish in last year’s USSDA Playoffs, has made nine starts, and 14 appearances overall, for a veteran squad. With his soft feet, soccer IQ and aerial dominance, Ragen is a truly modern center back, marshalling opposition forwards and initiating his own team’s attack with crisp passing out of the back. After scoring several goals in his lone season with Sounders Academy -- he spent most of his youth career with youth club affiliate, Seattle United -- the University Prep alum opened his collegiate account with a powerful header in a win over Northwestern.

Handwalla Bwana (Forward/Midfielder, University of Washington)

Bwana’s scorching form to start the season cooled a bit in October, though it’s worth noting that he may not have been fully fit, and the Huskies struggled as a team with a tough slate of matches. But the Ballard High School alum has roared back to life in recent weeks, registering a lovely assist in UW’s 1-0 win over UCLA. Head Coach Jamie Clark has shuffled the deck in recent weeks, opting for a more traditional 4-4-2 with Bwana playing as a withdrawn forward. That move has paid dividends for Bwana, with the Sounders Academy product scoring a brace in a recent 4-3 loss to Oregon State. While his technical ability is what initially catches the eye, his understanding of space, ability to change speed and ghost past challenges while combining with teammates makes Bwana a truly exciting prospect.

Saif Kerawala (Goalkeeper, University of Washington)

Staying in Montlake, Issaquah native Kerawala is enjoying a breakout season in his first campaign as the outright starter in goal. With seven clean sheets, 11 wins and 43 saves, the young shot-stopper is developing into a well-rounded goalkeeper. The Eastside FC, another Rave Green youth-partner club, and Sounders Academy product brings composure to a relatively young back line, and his technical acuity allows him to play an important role in the Huskies possession-based system. Kerawala was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the week of October 23-29 after he recorded a pair of clean sheets in wins over San Diego State, in which he saved a penalty kick, and UCLA.

Trey Muse (Goalkeeper, Indiana University)

What else is there left to say about the freshman goalkeeper? Muse, who spent three years in the Sounders youth system, won the starting job right away at No. 2 Indiana, and he’s gone on to have a historic season. The young ‘keeper leads the nation in shutouts (14), goals against average (0.21) and save percentage (91.8%). From 18 starts, he’s conceded just four times all season, culminating in shutout streak of 966 minutes from September 17 to October 21 -- the fourth-longest shutout streak in NCAA history.

One of the hallmarks of a great goalkeeper is being able to maintain concentration throughout the match. With an excellent defense in front of him, Muse isn’t called upon very often to make saves, but when he is, he’s more than up to the task, and he’s produced some truly stunning saves this season. A field player until he was 13 years old, Muse has always been excellent with his feet, but the 2017 USSDA Western Conference Player of the Year is developing into a more complete goalkeeper this season.

Nick Hinds (Attacking Midfield, Akron)

A fixture of last year’s Sounders on Campus series, Hinds has seen his playing time diminish a bit this year, but his offensive production has improved greatly. Normally a left back, Hinds has played in an attacking midfield role for the Zips this season, and with six goals and three assists from just 744 minutes of action, it’s hard to argue with that tactical adjustment. The Florida native, who joined Sounders Academy for his U-18 season, had a recent three-game scoring streak in which he tallied the game-winning goal against No. 7 Notre Dame. A mainstay with various U.S. Youth National Teams, Hinds is certainly one to watch as we enter NCAA postseason play.

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