TUKWILA, Wash. -- Sam Rogers is just 17-years-old but the former Seattle Sounders Academy member and current S2 defender officially has a professional goal to his name.
Rogers scored S2’s first tally in the 55th minute of his team’s home matchup with San Antonio FC at Starfire Sports Complex on Tuesday – a contest that would end in a 3-2 defeat. Although he would have preferred it to come in a winning effort, Rogers told reporters after the game that he was happy to find the scoresheet for the first time on the professional level.
“I don’t get to score many goals playing defense but I’ve always dreamed of scoring my first goal, playing here in front of all the fans as a pro,” Rogers said. “So, it feels great. I just want to keep pushing and maybe hopefully score some more this season.”
With Seattle’s Academy and playing with US youth national teams, Rogers played largely as a defensive midfielder. For this season with S2, however, he made the move to center back -- a move that has made for a positional adjustment in addition to the learning curve he already faced making the jump to the USL level.
After Tuesday’s match, S2 head coach Ezra Hendrickson said that he’s pleased with how that transition is going, even taking into account some of the growing pains that are to be expected with a 17-year-old prospect.
“He’s been playing well,” Hendrickson said. “There are some improvements that need to be made but he’s still 17, this was his sixth professional game. I think he’s coming along well. We’re happy with Sam and the way he’s been playing overall.”
For his part, Rogers said that he feels the adjustment to the professional game is going relatively smoothly as well. He might not be scoring a large volume of goals as a center back, but if he continues his development as a defender, there’s reason for Hendrickson and his staff to feel optimistic about his future prospects as he continues to adapt to the professional ranks.
“[The USL] is faster, it’s stronger, you have to think quicker than at the Academy level,” Rogers said. “I’m just taking it week by week, getting tips from the coaches and figuring out what I can do better. It’s good, I feel like I’ve been coming along well.”