Sounders Academy Finishes Eighth Image

Sounders Academy returns to action and impresses in California

Stocked with talent that has spent years in the system now, the Seattle Sounders FC Academy is off to a hot start to its 2013-14 USSDA season. The U-18s even did it without three players who stayed in Seattle to play for the Sounders reserve team.

In year four of the Seattle Sounders Academy system the organization is making a couple changes. There is now a formal U-14 side. Sigi Schmid indicated that the first team coaches will work more often with the youth players as well. One thing didn’t change: the wins keep coming.

After a year with both the U-18 and U-16 teams making the USSDA Playoffs, the U-18s even made Finals Week, the kids are off to another hot start.

Saturday they faced the Santa Cruz Breakers. The U-18s were powered by two goals from Isidro Fernando Prado-Huerta as he returns to the system. Prado-Huerta took the spring off to play for his high school. The U-18s did give up a goal to the Breakers. Dennis Kalamar returned to the field after having a huge first half of the 2012-13 season and then getting injured. Five of the returning players logged minutes in the MLS Reserve League last year.

Moving a bit north and east the club traveled to face the De Anza force, managing a 3-3 draw. Prada-Huerta notched a third goal of the two-match season. Kalamar scored his first goal as a full-time U-18 player and young Adeseyi S.A. Adekoya notched Seattle’s third tally. Returnee keeper Paul Christensen started the first time on the year and gave up three goals to De Anza Force.

Three of the U-18s were up in Seattle for the first team’s reserve match where Justin Critchlow played the full 90 at left and right back, Malcom Frago went 29 minutes and Kenny Sweet came on in the final minute of the win.

The U-16s lit up the scoreboard in Santa Cruz. Four different players scored with Harrison Kurtz netting a brace. John Magnus, Victor Masaray, and Connor Noblat joined him on the scoreboard. Most of the players at this level are players born in 1997 due to Seattle having a U-15 side that competes outside of the USSDA system.

Sunday’s match was a closer affair with Masaray notching the only goal in a 1-nil shutout win against the Force.

Both age levels take on the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA in a weekend that features two MLS Academy teams cranking out MLS talent. It will be imperative to grab home points behind stout defense and strong attacks. As it has been for the first team, Starfire's unique environment pulls out the best from the team.

With so many returning starters the game at noon on Saturday in Starfire Stadium should be a great time to watch the future of the organization take on an Academy that regularly produces professionals. Sunday’s match at 11 a.m. will be against a Chivas USA team that is integrating a possession ethic from its youngest years. There is no cost to attend Academy matches, though there is a 5$ fee for parking.