Danny Leyva
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All three Sounders Academy sides in great form at the midway point of the 2018-19 USSDA season

All three Sounders Academy sides have reached the midway point of the 2018-19 U.S. Soccer Development Academy season, with the next slate of league matches coming in February 2019. While the U-15s will enjoy a bit of a respite from official competition, the U-17s and U-19s head to Bradenton, Fla., for the annual DA Winter Showcase in two weeks.

The youngest squad in the youth system, the U-15s, remain unbeaten in league play through eight matches, including massive wins over their Cascadia rivals, Vancouver Whitecaps and Portland Timbers. More importantly, the newest members of the Academy have successfully implemented the club’s game model of effective pressing, intricate combination play and a high-octane attack. Committing to the Academy’s ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ philosophy, the U-15s are among the youngest sides in the country within their age group.

U-19 right back Enrique Montana surges down the line in a 4-0 win over the Portland Timbers | Quinn Width

Speaking of promoting youngsters, the U-17s featured five players who were playing up an age group in their recent 1-1 draw with the Whitecaps. Outside of league play, the young Sounders are in pole position for another successful run at Generation Adidas Cup as they sit atop the Group A with 11 points from four matches.

The U-19s have been in blistering form throughout the last couple of months, as they’re in the midst of a four-match winning streak while employing the Sounders’ brand of soccer. With S2 in the offseason, the oldest Academy side has enjoyed a bit of consistency in roster selection, which has led to chemistry and effective play on the pitch. Striker Alec Diaz, 16, has tallied nine goals from just six appearances, putting him as the second-leading scorer in the country.

Best Goal

S2 winger Marlon Vargas calmly chips the goalkeeper with pressure bearing down on him against the Real Salt Lake U-19s

Key Stat

7: Until the start of the 2019 USL season, a total of seven players on professional contracts with the club are still age eligible to compete with the Academy.

For Club and Country

Up to four Sounders Academy talents could be selected for the U.S. U-17 National Team for the upcoming Nike Friendlies in Bradenton, Fla. In the most recent international trip, the quartet of Josh Atencio, Ray Serrano, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and Danny Robles were all named to the roster for the Stars and Stripes, making the Sounders the most-represented club.

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