For the second time in 2018, Seattle Sounders FC 2 center back Sam Rogers has been called up to the United States U-20 men’s national team by Head Coach Tab Ramos for an upcoming international trip. Rogers, who received his first international call-up to a domestic camp with the U-18 YNT back in 2015, was named to the 21-player roster for a pair of friendlies in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, against the Honduran U-20 national team.
Rogers’ call-up comes on the back of a breakout performance with the U-20s in recent friendlies against France’s U-20 national team.
After winning the starting role for S2 while still in the youth system, the converted defender has developed into one of the most consistent performers on the squad, earning the role of vice captain for this season despite being just 18 years old.
“Sam has earned his call-ups, obviously he impressed with his recent trip to France and Spain,” said Sounders FC Director of Player Development and Academy Director Marc Nicholls. “He really took that chance, and it’s terrific that he’s been invited back for another international event, which I think shows the consistency he’s developed in his play.”
Sam Rogers with S2 at Cheney Stadium | Charis Wilson
One of the pillars of the Academy’s professional development pathway is regular involvement with youth national teams. Factoring in the elite competition, exposure to new tactical schemes, intense training sessions and international tournaments, the U.S. youth national teams, especially the U-17s and U-20s, immerse the Rave Green’s top prospects in a hyper-competitive environment, thus accelerating their development for both club and country.
“Whenever we can take players out of their comfort zone, especially playing international matches away from home, it’s a really valuable experience,” said Nicholls. “What’s interesting about Sam is he’s had to fight to be part of this national team. He had a sniff of a domestic camp a few years ago, hadn’t been selected since, and he seized his chance recently. Now we just hope he can become a permanent fixture.”
Through five starts with S2 this season, the Ballard High School alum has compiled an impressive 33 clearances, 10 interceptions and 100-percent success rate on tackles. A defensive midfielder with an eye for a line-breaking pass while in the youth system, Rogers has completed 81.2 percent of his passes this season, including 56.1 percent completion on long passes, which is highest among the four starting defenders.
More impressive, though, is his improved aerial prowess, winning 13 of 20 aerial duels. Although it’s a relatively small sample size, that figure has already increased 12 percent since his rookie campaign.
“This call-up is a testament to Sam’s hard work, and his dedication toward learning the craft of being a center back,” said S2 Assistant Coach Wade Webber. “He didn’t just get the call-up because he plays for the Sounders, he got it because he’s been developing and playing really well.”
The full roster for the camp can be found here.