Three member of the Seattle Sounders FC Academy returned stateside this week after representing the United States U-15s and U-18s in international tournaments in Europe.
Trey Muse, a goalkeeper for the Sounders U-18s and S2, was called up to represent the Stars and Stripes after impressing in a recent January camp. Muse received his first U.S. call-up a few months after joining the Rave Green youth system and was recently invited to participate in the Slovakia Cup in Trnava, Slovakia.
The tournament marked Muse’s fourth call-up to a U.S. national team event, as well as his first official cap — the Louisville-native started in goal for the U.S. in a 2-1 victory over Belarus in the second group-stage match. After topping the group with three wins from three against the likes of Hungary, Slovakia and Belarus, the boys advanced straight to the tournament final, but ultimately fell 3-1 at the hands of Russia.
Muse has spent the last few months training with S2 and was invited to participate in preseason with the first team.
Two standouts playing up on the Sounders U-16s, forward Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and midfielder Josh Atencio, joined up with the U.S. U-15s in Gradisca d’Isonzo, Italy, for the Torneo Delle Nazione. Both prospects enjoyed breakout performances on the international stage after cementing their places in the USYNT pool over the course of the 2016-17 season.
“From what I’ve been told by the U.S. staff, both of the boys have done very well,” said Academy Technical Director Marc Nicholls. “They’ve played in almost every game, with Alfonso scoring important goals and Josh impacting the game from midfield.”
Lined up in a group alongside Slovenia, Russia and England, they advanced from round-robin play and went on to defeat Portugal in the semifinal and England in the championship game. The young Sounders started in the first two matches in wins over Slovenia and Russia, with Ocampo-Chavez putting in a man-of-the-match performance in a 4-0 win over the latter with a goal and two assists.
After a disappointing loss to England in the final group match — the U.S. had already secured top spot and decided to rotate the squad — Ocampo-Chavez and Atencio stole the show in the semifinal match with Portugal.
With a spot in the final of the prestigious tournament on the line — the other two groups included the likes of Japan, Mexico, Italy and Croatia — Ocampo-Chavez scored two goals and tallied another assist en route to a 4-2 win, securing a rematch with England in the title game. Atencio, a highly intelligent box-to-box midfielder, came on in the second half and his composure in possession helped the U.S. to a 2-1 victory.
Ocampo-Chavez and Atencio received plenty of plaudits from the U.S. Soccer coaching staff and featured in every game with the exception of the tournament final, which Ocampo-Chavez missed because of an ankle injury he sustained versus Portugal.
With Muse, Ocampo-Chavez and Atencio returning home with a wealth of international experience upon advancing to the final of two prestigious international tournaments, they’ve helped to build upon the reputation of Sounders Academy prospects as top talents for club and country.