Standing in goal on the grass pitch at Starfire Sports, the Sounders FC’s training facility, 23-year-old Sounders FC 2 goalkeeper Charlie Lyon soaked in the experience and knowledge of the club’s two veteran net-minders, Stefan Frei and Troy Perkins.
Lyon, in his first professional season with S2, has started each of the club’s eight USL matches. On a First Team contract, the Marquette graduate spends a majority of his time training with Frei and Perkins, facing shots in training from some of the best forwards MLS has to offer.
“It has been huge to have two quality keepers like Stefan and Troy, who are so experienced, helping me in training every day,” said Lyon. “Along with Tommy [Dutra’s] help, training with this club has really pushed my game forward. Just getting the opportunity to play in a Sounders jersey has been really fun so far.”
Playing all four years of college eligibility with Marquette captaining the side, Lyon received a wide selection of honors including a co-recipient of the Big East Goalkeeper of the Year award in both his junior and senior years. He finished his time with the Golden Eagles as the school’s all-time leader in Goals Against Average.
Lyon has recorded one shutout in his first eight matches, making 16 saves for the Rave Green’s USL side. Although the team hasn’t been able to come up with a win on the road, the shot-stopper and his team have maintained a perfect 4-0-0 record at home.
“Ultimately the responsibility falls on the goalkeeper, whether I could have saved it or not, to help my team be in the best position to stop those chances,” said Lyon. “Starting with myself and continuing with the backline, we are going to continue to work on keeping that goals-against average down and start getting those shutouts we have been looking for.”
Transitioning to the pros and living in Seattle has been a big change for the Illinois native, but Lyon is taking it in stride.
“In school, you wake up and maybe have a morning practice, but you go to class and maybe have something later in the day without much down time,” said Lyon. “Here, you get come in, you work hard and you work smart, then you make sure you take care of yourself the rest of the day.”
In the team’s first season, Lyon is hoping to make the most of the opportunity to develop with the first team, and he sees the experience with S2 as a chance to grow as a professional alongside his new teammates.
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“We have good team chemistry, and you can especially tell on the road when we get to spend a lot more time together,” said Lyon. “For a lot of us, it’s our first year as a professional athlete, so with all the ‘firsts’ guys are working through in this league, we are doing a good job of leaning on each other to get through that, and that we will continue to grow as a team and continue to get results.”
Currently sitting second in the USL Western Conference standings, S2 returns to Starfire on Friday to face Oklahoma City Energy FC, a team that beat the Rave Green 2-1 when they visited OKC on April 18. Tickets to the home match can be found here.