With the 2017 NCAA men’s soccer season well underway, plenty of Sounders Academy alums are stealing the headlines with their performances on campus. From the University of Washington to college soccer powerhouses like Indiana and Clemson, potential Homegrown Players are carving out crucial roles for some of the biggest programs across the country.
Handwalla Bwana (University of Washington)
After a breakout freshman campaign, the sophomore standout has picked up where he left off last season. Last year, Bwana won Pac-12 Freshman of the Year with four goals and seven assists across 20 appearances for UW. And through the first five matches of this season, the Academy alum has already equaled his goal output from last season while also tacking on two assists.
Bwana, who made four appearances for S2 before linking up with the Huskies, started off the season in a more withdrawn midfield role, ostensibly filling the shoes of Sounders Homegrown Player Henry Wingo. A technical, intelligent and crafty player, this role enabled the Kenya native to dictate the tempo of the match from the middle of the park, often ghosting past challenges and linking up with teammates.
Despite being tasked with a more possession-oriented mandate, Bwana still managed to tally a world-class goal against LMU and a pair of assists against Drexel and Gonzaga. But in his most recent outing, a 4-3 win over Santa Clara, he played up top in a 4-4-2. The Rave Green youth-team product dropped his first career hat trick against the Broncos with three unique, technically excellent strikes, earning Pac-12 Player of the Week for his efforts.
Saif Kerawala (University of Washington)
Goalkeeper Saif Kerawala is in the midst of his first collegiate campaign as the outright starter in goal. Kerawala, who came up at youth-partner club Eastside FC before joining the Sounders youth system, has started each of UW’s games this season, registering a Goals Against Average of 1.14 while tallying 14 saves. The most impressive part of his game, however, has been his technical ability with his feet. Two years prior to joining Sounders Academy, Kerawala spent an entire season for Eastside as a central midfielder, and the payoff has been obvious in his performances for the Huskies. He consistently breaks opponent’s defensive pressure with composed passes out of the back, which has allowed UW to control the tempo of each match.
Jacob Hauser-Ramsey (University of Connecticut)
A regular in last year’s ‘Sounders on Campus’ series, Hauser-Ramsey continues to make a name for himself as a dominant, two-way center back for UConn. In his second season with the Huskies, the Kings High School alum has cemented his place as an integral part of a stingy defense. In his five starts this season, Hauser-Ramsey has marshalled a backline that’s allowed just four goals. A former midfielder and forward at the youth level, he’s also proved pivotal in the Huskies attack, often initiating attacks with incisive, line-breaking passes.
Trey Muse (Indiana University)
The 2016-17 USSDA Western Conference U-18 Player of the Year has hit the ground running with the Hoosiers, starting all seven matches for the No. 1 ranked team in the country. Muse, the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. U-18 Men’s National Team, has garnered an astounding .26 GAA.
With 17 saves thus far, his stellar play in goal has been an instrumental aspect of the Hoosiers’ lockdown defense, which already has five clean sheets on the year. Of those 17 saves, five have come during golden-goal overtime, further demonstrating his ability to perform under pressure.
Harrison Kurtz (Clemson University)
Another young player earning significant minutes for one of the top programs in the country, Kurtz has taken advantage of each opportunity presented for the No. 10 Tigers. On a roster jam-packed with professional quality talent, the Seattle native has been handed the reigns on set pieces this season. With two assists this season, both from corner kicks, it’s safe to say Kurtz is making the most of his opportunities. In his most recent outing, a 3-0 win over UCLA, Kurtz drew the PK for the game-winning goal when was fouled in the box after a mazy run in which he beat several defenders.