As various United States Youth National Teams begin their programming for 2018, a total of 10 Seattle Sounders Academy prospects have been named to rosters for current and upcoming USYNT camps.
U.S. Soccer recently announced the rosters for the U-16, U-17, U-18, U-19 and U-20 Men’s National Teams for the first-ever Summit Camp, running from Jan. 2-11 in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. With six players hailing from the Sounders’ youth system, the Rave Green have one of the highest rates of representation among Major League Soccer clubs. Four Sounders Academy prospects have also been named to the roster for the upcoming U.S. U-15 Boys National Team camp in Sunrise, Fla., which will run from Jan. 13-20.
“It’s great to have the 10 players called up for the 2004-1999 camps,” said Sounders FC Director of Player Development Marc Nicholls. “It shows the range and scope of talent in the club from SDP through to college.”
Indiana University standout and Sounders Academy alum Trey Muse secured an invitation to the U.S. U-20s on the back of an accolade-laden freshman campaign in which he led the Hoosiers to the NCAA title game and was named to Top Drawer Soccer’s Freshman Best XI, Second-Team All-Big Ten and College Cup All-Tournament Team.
Another Rave Green goalkeeper, U-19 starter Sam Fowler, who tallied 14 saves from two starts for Sounders FC 2 in the 2017 USL season, was named to the U.S. U-19 roster.
After impressing for the U.S. U-17s at the Nike Friendlies, Sounders Academy duo Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and Ray Serrano retained their spots on the squad for the Summit Camp. A highly mobile and crafty striker, Ocampo-Chavez has been a mainstay with the U.S. since joining the club in 2016.
Serrano, who signed with Sounders Academy before last season from the Spokane Sounders, showcased his fearlessness and inventive style in the December friendlies, sparking several goalscoring opportunities with his dribbling ability and creativity in the final third.
Two standouts from the Sounders U-15 squad, center back Nico Rei McMillan and midfielder Danny Leyva, earned call-ups to the U.S. U-15s. Both players impressed in a recent U.S. U-14 camp, and their selection for the older squad is a clear indication of their long-term potential for both club and country. An athletic and intelligent defender, McMillan signed with the Sounders from youth partner club Pac NW. Leyva, an attacking midfielder, joined the club from Nevada Heat FC, the same youth club as S2 midfielder and Sounders Academy alum Azriel Gonzalez.
On top of the six young Sounders called into the USYNT Summit Camp, four Rave Green youth system prospects — Oscar Rincon, Juan Alvarez, Takashi Sasaki and Ben Buns — have been named to the upcoming U.S. U-15 Boys National Team roster for the first camp of 2018.
Rincon, born in 2005, joined the Sounders Discovery Program in 2016 and immediately impressed the Academy coaching staff. Though he’s technically still eligible for SDP, the young forward has been a key contributor to the U-15 USSDA squad this season, tallying four goals and one assist from eight appearances.
Alvarez, Sasaki and Burns are all current members of SDP who play their club ball for Pac NW, an official youth affiliate club.
Except for Leyva and Muse, who were both identified through national scouting, every player called up to USYNT in January joined the Sounders from a youth partner club or through SDP, providing clear evidence that the club’s youth programming initiatives continue to impact local player development positively.
While 10 USYNT call-ups in one month is a staggering feat for one club, there are plenty of prospects making their way through the Sounders pipeline with the talent to star for both club and country.
“We also have five or six other players that can consider themselves very unlucky to not be called up,” said Nicholls.