Nick Palodichuk (Chris Coulter/SoundersPhotos.com)
The Sounders U23 team will have a very familiar look to it when they begin play in May. The team just announced that Jamael Cox, Nick Palodichuk and Sean Okoli will join previously signed Darwin Jones, DeAndre Yedlin and Troy Peterson as Sounders Academy alumni who will suit up in Rave Green.
"These exciting players will look to combine with players selected at the open tryouts and other players returning for the PDL season," U23 coach Darren Sawatzky said in a release.
The three most recent signings are especially significant for various reasons. Cox was recently on trial with Scottish giant Rangers and Palodichuk and Okoli are coming off standout freshman season and have both been called up to United States youth national teams.
Okoli made 21 appearances, including 18 starts, and had four goals and three assists during his freshman season at Wake Forest. Palodichuk scored seven goals and had six assists in 21 appearances for Duke.
In Palodichuk's case, there has been some level of dispute over who might hold his Homegrown Player rights. Although he played for the Sounders Academy, he grew up in Vancouver, Wash., which is considered Timbers territory. He also played for the Timbers U23 team last year. That he has chosen to play for the Sounders, would seem to be an indication of his preference.