Last year in their first season as part of USSDA both Sounders Academy teams made the playoffs by winning their groups, with the U16s advancing on to finals week as one of the top 8 teams. As we noted a few weeks ago, this season has been a little rougher for the academy. The U18s needed to win their final match of the regular season against Vancouver and have the De Anza Force lose out to make second place in the group to earn a playoff spot. Unfortunately, the Force won their last match handily to lock up second, and so today's match will be the last of the season for the U18s. The U16s locked up a playoff spot a while ago with at least second in the group behind Vancouver, but if they can beat the Whitecaps today they'll win the group on the goal difference tiebreaker.
Despite not making the playoffs the U18s will once again graduate talent worth keeping an eye on during the college soccer season this fall. Aaron Kovar, who at times was the best player on the field in the last Sounders Reserve match, is moving on to Stanford. And the talented trio of Dom Dismuke, Michael Gallagher, and Ian Lange will be staying near to home at the University of Washington, where the parent club will no doubt be keeping an eye on their development.
Meanwhile the U16s have two players active with youth national teams, as Jalen Markey was recently with the U18 national team at a tournament in Portugal and goalkeeper Paul Christensen has been in residency and touring with the U-17 national team since January.
The U18s kickoff their season finale at 1 today at Simon Fraser University in Burnary, and the U16s kickoff at 4:30.