Two Seattle Sounders Academy alums, winger Marlon Vargas and center back Blake Malone, have been called up to the United States U-20 Men’s National Team by new head coach Anthony Hudson for a domestic camp, running from Jan. 7-19 in Bradenton, Fla.
The young Yanks will compete in a pair of friendlies against Mexico on the 16th and 18th.
Vargas and Malone were key contributors to the Sounders U-17 side that won the 2017-18 USSDA national championship. Traveling different developmental pathways, Vargas has become a consistent presence with the Tacoma Defiance, while Malone was a breakout performer with the University of North Carolina as a freshman this past fall.
“We’re very proud to have two of our boys called up for this camp,” said Sounders FC Director of Player Development and Academy Director Marc Nicholls. “It’s great whenever our players get a chance with the national team. The U-20s are particularly important, as it involves an opportunity to play in a World Cup.”
Vargas, 18, joined the Sounders youth setup in 2016 and burst onto the scene during the 2017-18 USSDA season, notching 25 goals and 31 assists in 59 appearances for the U-17s. In the past USL Championship campaign, the creative, technical winger tallied two goals, two assists and 16 key passes with the Tacoma Defiance.
Hailing from Las Vegas, Nev., Malone joined the Sounders Homestay Program in 2017. Originally a No. 6, his conversion to center back has paid immediate dividends, as he’s developed into one of the top defensive prospects in his age group. His sterling performances with the Rave Green earned him several call-ups to the U.S. U-19’s last year. Prior to joining up with the Tar Heels in 2019, Malone started six matches with the Defiance.
Both Vargas and Malone received significant minutes in a professional environment while still in the youth ranks, which is a cornerstone of the club’s developmental pathway. That experience will prove particularly valuable as they attempt to cement their spots on such a crucial youth national team.
You can find more information on the camp here.