Sounders on Campus: Jacob Hauser-Ramsey, Nick Hinds shine in NCAA openers

The college soccer season got underway over the weekend, and a number of Sounders FC Academy products received significant playing time in the inaugural matches. With 15 members of the 2016 Academy class plying their trade at the college level, several players from last year's U18 Academy squad made their debuts for top Division I programs.

Sophomore transfer Jacob Hauser-Ramsey got the start at center back in consecutive wins for Connecticut. Hauser-Ramsey has already broken into the starting XI in his debut season with the Huskies, and went the full 90 minutes in both of UConn's opening matches. After defeating Iona College 3-1 in the season opener, in which Hauser-Ramsey recorded two shots with one on frame, the Sounders Academy product played an integral role in restricting Omaha to one shot attempt in a commanding 2-0 win.

The Seattle University Redhawks began their WAC title defense by participating in the Akron Classic, winning the first match 2-0 against West Virginia before narrowly losing 1-0 to Akron on a goal in the 89th minute. Senior defender Kyle Bjornethun, a member of the 2013 Academy class, played the full 90 in both matches. His efforts on the defensive side of proceedings saw him named to the Akron Classic All-Tournament Team.

Former Sounders Academy goalkeeper RJ Noll, who transferred from Manhattan College, won the starting job in goal for the Redhawks. The sophomore standout produced nine saves across the two games, including four saves in the second half of an end-to-end affair against Akron.

Washington kicked off the 2016 campaign with a 2-1 loss to Utah Valley University. A pair of SSFC Academy products, Henry Wingo and Handwalla Bwana, earned significant minutes for the Huskies. Wingo led the team in shots with four efforts, and nearly leveled the game with a thunderous strike that beat the goalkeeper but crashed back off the crossbar.

Meanwhile Bwana – an exciting attacking player who head coach Jamie Clark has likened to Portland Timbers star Darlington Nagbe – made his debut for the Huskies with a total of 26 minutes action off the bench. 

Another former U18 Sounders Academy standout, Nicholas Hinds, made his debut for No. 2 Akron with a brief cameo against Georgetown. Hinds came on for 11 minutes of action toward the end of the match, and nearly grabbed the winner with a strike in the 85th minute that just sailed over the crossbar.

The young left back demonstrated enough against Georgetown to earn his first start in the next match against Seattle University. On a night when Akron handed out commemorative bobble-heads of former Sounders defender DeAndre Yedlin, Hinds followed in the Newcastle United right back's footsteps by going the full 90 and earning a shutout against Seattle University.

Midfielder Harrison Kurtz, who recorded 12 goals and 33 assists in his time with Sounders Academy, made his debut for No. 3 Clemson. The crafty playmaker came on for seven minutes of action as the Tigers toppled No, 24 South Carolina 2-1. Kurtz then went on to play 31 minutes in the 2-1 over Providence, as the freshman looks to break into a squad with ambitions of returning to the national title game in 2016. 

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