Throughout the past couple of seasons, the Seattle Sounders Academy staff has repeatedly expressed their goal for the Rave Green youth system to be one of the best in the world. But in order to be the best, you have to beat the best. And the young Sounders are doing just that at the historic Youdan Trophy in Sheffield, England, with both squads advancing to the semifinals from groups composed of the most storied clubs in the world.
Two of the most talent-laden squads in the history of Sounders Academy, the Sounders Discovery Program U-12s (2004) and the U-14s (2002), are running riot at the Youdan Trophy with a combined goal differential of plus-22 from just eight matches.
In a rematch of last year’s tournament final, which the young Sounders won by a score of 1-0, the U-14s will square off against Swiss powerhouse FC Basel in the tournament’s final four. The U-12s, who advanced by beating Manchester United 5-0 and Crystal Palace 2-0, will take on another English side in Sunderland AFC.
The Youdan Trophy, billed as a showcased for “the stars of the future,” has been a resounding success for the Academy’s “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough” philosophy. In fact, nearly every player in the 2002’s starting lineup has played up on the U-15s, U-16s, U-18s or S2 at some point this season.
The results are also indicative of the growing influence of Sounders Discovery Program, an initiative which invites the best local youth players to train with the Academy staff twice a week, as well as the effectiveness of the youth-club affiliate program.
- Sounders FC (U-12) 2 vs. Maiden City Soccer (U-12) 0
- Sounders FC (U-14) 3 vs. Sparta Rotterdam (U-14) 0
- Sounders FC (U-14) 5 vs. Queens Park Rangers (U-14) 0
- Sounders FC (U-12) 1 vs. Nottingham Forest FC (U-12) 0
- Sounders FC (U-12) 5 vs. Manchester United FC (U-12) 0
- Sounders FC (U-14) 3 vs. Celtic FC (U-14) 1
- Sounders FC (U-12) 2 vs. Crystal Palace FC (U-12) 0
- Sounders FC (U-14) 3 vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers (U-14) 1