As Seattle Sounders FC 2 prepares for its first season in Tacoma, the home stadium isn’t in the only thing that’s changing. Compared to years past, the 2018 squad is considerably younger and has a distinct local influence, featuring six players who came through Sounders Academy. But with just 12 players on the roster, current Sounders Academy prospects, who are eligible to sign amateur contracts and compete in USL, will likely compete for game time throughout the campaign. The S2 season kicks off on Friday night against Portland Timbers 2 (7 p.m. PT | TICKETS).
Here’s Part I of an in-depth look at some of the top youth-team prospects to watch for with S2 this season.
Khai Brisco (Age: 17, Position: Right back)
Brisco may be just 17 years old, but he brings with him a wealth of experiences that belies his age. One of the longest-tenured members of Sounders Academy, the all-action defender has captained his team to a Youdan Trophy title, started five USL matches and participated in preseason with the First Team. Starting in the youth system as a center back, Brisco began making the transition to right back this year, and more recently, has been a revelation for the U-19s as a wingback, scoring three goals in his last four matches. Blessed with pace, defensive instincts and an elite soccer IQ, the young defender will continue to develop the attacking side of his game by testing himself against established professionals in USL competition.
Sounders FC Director of Player Development and Academy Director Marc Nicholls: “Khai is a top-level athlete with a very good understanding of the game. He has the capacity to lead and by improving his technical qualities, he has a great potential future in the game.”
Dylan Teves (Age: 17, Position: Midfielder)
Throughout his time in the Academy, Teves has turned plenty of heads with his blend of technical acuity, change of pace, cerebral playmaking and close control in tight spaces. And while he’s spent most of his time out on the wing, his unique skill set has seen him move inside this season, operating as a box-to-box midfielder. A regular participant in First Team training, the Hawaii native, who has cited S2 midfielder and fellow Hawaiian Shandon Hopeau as an inspiration, has seen his development accelerated by regularly playing above his age group. From 115 minutes of USL action last season, Teves registered a passing-completion percentage of 84 percent, with just 18 percent of his attempts going backward. That kind of incisive, line-breaking passing will serve him well in S2’s build-from-the-back possession system.
MN: “Dylan has proven to be a very consistent performer. He made a big impression with the First Team during preseason with an exceptional performance against Portland. We really look forward to Dylan competing for minutes in the USL season.”
Cam Martin (Age: 17, Position: Midfielder)
Much like Teves, Martin brings a competitive spirit and soccer intelligence that will elevate the standard of training for S2. A multifaceted and dynamic player, the University of San Francisco-bound prospect can thrive anywhere across the midfield. With the massive increase in speed of play from the USSDA to the USL, Martin’s ability to find pockets of space and keep things ticking in possession will serve him well as he competes against full-fledged professionals.
MN: “Cam quietly goes about his business in a very methodical and professional way. He is an intelligent player who adds a lot of versatility and quality to his team.”
Jake Morris (Age: 19, Position: Left back)
After catching the attention of supporters with several promising displays for the First Team during the 2017 preseason, Morris experienced an unfortunate setback, suffering a long-term injury. But since returning to USSDA play with the U-19s, the two-way left back has thrived in his new wingback role. Tall, athletic and technical, Morris will benefit greatly from competing with exciting prospects Nick Hinds and Ibrahim Usman, both of whom are youth internationals for their respective countries, for playing time. Never one to shy away from a challenge, the young defender will get plenty of fans at Cheney Stadium on their feet with crunching tackles and surging runs down the left flank.
MN: “Jake is a player of high potential. He is a very good athlete, and in spite of him being labeled as a defender, he has very good quality in front of goal. He has the ability to be a difference maker.”