Sounders FC strengthens youth development ties in Eastern Washington with Spokane Shadow partnership

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The Rave Green are making their mark throughout the Evergreen State.

Sounders FC is in the process of building a new partnership with Spokane Shadow Soccer Club, the largest youth soccer organization in Eastern Washington, enabling the club to extend its youth development infrastructure into a strategic in-state locale.

"This makes perfect sense for us," said Seattle Sounders FC Academy Technical Director Marc Nicholls.  “We will have a vested interest in the eastern part of the state. We know that there are many good coaches and players in Spokane and we hope that this partnership will help galvanize the soccer community in the area.”

Currently, the Shadow includes around 800 competitive participants and almost 250 recreational participants, and continues to show immense growth. Recently, the Shadow announced a partnership with the Spokane Youth Sports Association, which features over 3,500 recreational soccer participants. Now, by partnering with Sounders FC, the programs will be offered an integrated curriculum and soccer playing philosophy as well as education for the coaches. 

“It's an exciting time for soccer and the whole soccer community of Spokane,” said Shadow Technical Director Abbas Faridnia. “The Seattle Sounders are the MLS franchise. Nowhere else in the Unites States is there more excitement, more quality or more professionalism than with the Seattle Sounders.”

The Shadow will become an integral part of the Sounders Academy structure. Furthermore, players who participate on the Shadow’s teams will be eligible to join Sounders FC Academy squads.

For Seattle, this partnership marks another step in strengthening the club’s youth development system. According to General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey, vertically integrating the system is a strategic long-term aspiration for the organization. 

“In order to have the best Academy, and in conjunction with S2 the best player development pipeline, we must be able to identify the best players, not just in Seattle, but from our entire Homegrown territory,” said Lagerwey. “This relationship in Spokane gives us a new set of eyes and ears to look for talent in an area that has previously been hard for us to reach. We look forward to working with the Shadow to provide opportunities for the best youth players to spur their development with the Sounders.”

This pipeline now extends beyond the Emerald City into Spokane, the second-largest city in the state.

“For the players and coaches of Spokane, to have the unique opportunity of working directly with the top MLS franchise is a revolutionary step for soccer in our community,” Faridnia said. “We are excited by the upward progress for the players and their development in our community."

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