SEATTLE, WASH. – Seattle Sounders FC today announced that 15 Academy players have committed to play collegiate soccer as part of National Signing Day. In addition to two players signing with perennial power Akron and one joining defending NCAA runner-up Clemson, four members of Sounders FC Academy are set to continue their soccer careers locally at the University Washington and Seattle University.
“Every year, signing day is an exciting event for young athletes as they choose the next stop in their lives,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “It’s important for us as a club to support these players and help them not only grow as soccer players, but as young men, as well.”
Defender Nicholas Hinds and goalkeeper Tor Saunders have committed to the University of Akron, a program that reached the College Cup for the third time in seven seasons in 2015 and has qualified for the NCAA tournament every year since 2005. Former Sounders FC Homegrown Player and current U.S. National Team regular DeAndre Yedlin spent two seasons with the Zips before joining the Rave Green, as did former Seattle top overall SuperDraft pick Steve Zakuani.
Midfielder Harrison Kurz signed his letter of intent with Clemson University of the ACC. The Tigers have qualified for the NCAA tournament each of the past three years and reached the NCAA final last season, falling to Stanford and recent Sounders FC Homegrown Player signing Jordan Morris.
“The priority of the Academy is to produce players that can eventually sign and contribute to the Sounders FC First Team, and developing to play collegiately is an important step in that process,” said Sounders FC Academy Technical Director Marc Nicholls. “We’re thrilled for our young men as they choose their respective schools and look forward to keeping track of their progress.”
A total of six Sounders FC Academy players are playing collegiate soccer in-state. Forward Handwalla Bwana, defender Kasey French and midfielder John Magnus are all committed to play for the University of Washington, a program that produced current Sounders FC players Cristian Roldan and Darwin Jones. Midfielder Connor Noblat has committed to Seattle University, while defender Davis Behnke and midfielder Brady Henderson will play collegiately at Gonzaga University in Spokane. Henderson is the nephew of Sounders FC Sporting Director of Chris Henderson.
Elon University in North Carolina welcomes a pair of Academy products, as Roko Bedalo and Johnny Reynolds are set to attend the Colonial Athletic Association school. Tobi Jnohope will play college soccer at Denver University – the school that produced 2016 Homegrown signing Jordan Schweitzer – and Ivory Randle heads to St. Mary’s College in California to play for the Gaels. Two more Academy players are headed to the East Coast, with John Dale committed to Davidson College and Henry Baldwin to Dartmouth College of the Ivy League.
Complete information on Sounders FC Academy, including schedules, rosters and the latest news can be found at SoundersFC.com/Academy.
2016 SOUNDERS FC ACADEMY COLLEGE COMMITMENTS
Henry Baldwin – Dartmouth College
Roko Bedalov – Elon University (North Carolina)
Davis Behnke – Gonzaga University
Handwalla Bwana – University of Washington
John Dale – Davidson College
Kasey French – University of Washington
Brady Henderson – Gonzaga University
Nicholas Hinds – University of Akron
Tobi Jnohope – Denver University
Harrison Kurtz – Clemson University
John Magnus – University of Washington
Connor Noblat – Seattle University
Ivory Randle – St. Mary’s College (California)
Johnny Reynolds – Elon University (North Carolina)
Tor Saunders – University of Akron
Burke Fahling – undecided
Joseph Hafferty – undecided
Lorenzo Ramos – undecided