Eight Seattle Sounders Academy players commit to college programs on National Signing Day

A total of eight players from the Sounders Academy U-18 squad announced their commitments to different college soccer programs on National Signing Day on Wednesday.

A pair of U-18 standouts, Lucas Meek and Stirling Russell, will remain in Seattle and attend the University of Washington. The Huskies advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament in 2016, and midfielder Henry Wingo left college early to sign a Homegrown contract with the Sounders.

Meek, a native of Mercer Island, Wash., joined Sounders Academy from partner club Eastside FC. A dynamic attacking player, he is capable of lining up on either wing and provides plenty of energy going forward.

Russell, originally from Colorado Springs, Colo., also joined the club from Eastside FC. The right back was recently called in to a camp for the United States U-18s, after first breaking into the international fold as a winger for the U.S. U-16s.

Sounders FC midfielder Sam Rogers has committed to play for Villanova. The Wildcats were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament in 2016 after Sounders Academy alum Nick Hinds led Akron to a 2-0 victory with a pair of goals. A Seattle native, Rogers has spent four years in the Academy after signing from Eastside FC.

Sounders Academy swiss-army knife, Joseph Hafferty, will stay in the Pacific Northwest after signing with Oregon State. The standout from Renton, Wash., has spent the last five years in the Academy. Capable of playing in defense, midfield or attack, Hafferty will bring plenty of versatility to the Beavers.

Midfielder Kei Tomozawa will join the reigning College Cup champions Stanford University. The Cardinal won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2015 and ’16, with Sounders Homegrown player Jordan Morris scoring two goals in the 2015 final over Clemson University. After joining Sounders Academy in 2013, Tomozawa has participated in three camps with the U.S. U-18 national team and will bring his high soccer IQ and impressive technical ability to the college soccer powerhouse.

Winger Paul Rothrock joined Sounders Academy in 2016 from partner club Seattle United and will continue his development next year at the University of Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish won College Cup in 2013 and have produced several MLS players in recent years, most notably new Sounders midfielder Harry Shipp.

Here is the complete list of college-bound Sounders FC Academy Players in 2017:

Habib Barry (CM) - undecided

Neil Boyal (CM) - undecided

Alexander Bradbury (ST) – Gardner-Webb University

Joseph Hafferty (RB/RM) – Oregon State University

Akili Kasim (GK) - undecided

Lucas Meek (LW/RW) – University of Washington

Stephen Murray (RB) - undecided

Jackson Ragen (CB)– University of Michigan

Sam Rogers (CDM) – Villanova University

Paul Rothrock (RW) – University of Notre Dame

Stirling Russell (RW/RB) – University of Washington

Greg Sutton (RW) - undecided

Kei Tomozawa (CM/CAM) – Stanford University