The news of today centered around yesterday’s big win by the Sounders Academy in the U16/17 championship game over Atlanta United’s Academy. Things were shaky in the first half, especially after dueling red cards left the game 10 v. 10. But after that, the Baby Sounders’ quality took control.
Sounders GM/President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey came out to talk about the big victory, and was understandably as proud as a parent over the achievement. He talked especially about how owners Adrian Hanauer and Joe Roth signed off on making a huge investment to boost the quality of the Sounders academy, and how great it was to get this “reward.”
Lagerwey noted this is just the close of the first chapter for these kids. The next step will be getting time with Sounders 2, and then making their way to the first team. But the quality of the kids at this level is impossible to deny. I watched the whole game and the potential attacking talent on display is enough to make one drool.
I specifically asked him about the factors the team uses to determine when/if a youth player is ready for a professional contract, and Garth gave a very detailed answer. I actually hope to sit down with him to do an interview on this issue, especially in the context of an evolving MLS, and given the issues with players potentially leaving for free (see: my other recent stories).
Finally, no news on any new additions before the close of the window, though Garth did say they’ve identified targets. He expects the next few weeks to be very busy, as the World Cup ends, and a ton of players look for new teams.
Back to the 1st team, one bit of good news is that Handwalla Bwana is out of his boot and has started rehab. I saw him doing some light jogging and work with the ball. My guess is he’s still out for the foreseeable future, but good to see him making progress from that freak injury.
Roman Torres continues to recover from his injury and is training on the side. He indicated that he’s probably about 7-10 days out from being ready, at which point Coach Schmetzer will have some interesting decisions to make.
Beyond that, a pretty standard practice. Here are a series of shots from a shot and goal from Nico Lodeiro.