Trialist: Micheal Azira

USA TODAY Sports

The 26 year-old midfielder provided 8 goals and 2 assists in 2013 between the Charleston Battery and the Sounders reserves.

For the second consecutive year, a former Lindsey Wilson College player and a former University of Mobile player is in training with the Sounders. Unlike last year, those two schools are represented by a single player. Micheal Azira, a teammate of Sounders 2013 supplemental draft pick Lebogang Moloto and Philadelphia second round pick Stephen Okai, re-joins the Sounders after appearing in a reserve match for the Sounders in October.

Born in Uganda, Azira has experience as both a player and as a coach. He played for NAIA schools Lindsey Wilson College and the University of Mobile in college. During his time in college, he also spent a couple of seasons with PDL side Mississippi Brilla. For the past couple of seasons, he has played for USL Pro side Charleston Battery.

What's unique about Azira is that he already has a bit of coaching experience, even though he's only 26. He currently serves as the head coach of the U16 and U18 sides at Daniel Island Soccer Academy in the Charleston, South Carolina area. In 2011, he served as an assistant coach at UMS-Wright, a prep school in Mobile, and helped guide the team to a state title.

Azira has played at the U20 and U23 level for Uganda and was called up for a World Cup qualifying match against Senegal last September, though he wasn't called upon to enter the match.

Lindsey Wilson College (NAIA): 2008 - 2010

In college, Azira spent 3 years at Lindsey Wilson College, in which he produced 8 goals and 6 assists in 62 appearances, while being used primarily as a defender. In his sophomore season, Lindsey Wilson won the 2009 NAIA national title, helped by Azira's most productive season at the school, including 2 game winning goals.

Season Games Played Goals Assists Shots Shots on Goal Game Winning Goals
2008 20 2 0 6 3 1
2009 22 4 3 33 14 2
2010 20 2 3 24 8 0

University of Mobile (NAIA): 2011

In Azira's final year of eligibility, he transferred to the University of Mobile, where he was primarily used as a midfielder. The team posted a 16-3-1 record during the 2011 season and made an appearance in the NAIA tournament. Azira picked up a couple of individual awards, including Newcomer of the Year, Conference Team of the Year and Honorable Mention All-American.

After Azira spent only one season at the University of Mobile, head coach Roy Patton wasn't shy about praising his contributions and abilities:

In thirty years of coaching, Micheal Azira is undoubtedly one of the top 10 players I have ever had the opportunity to coach in the college ranks. If he stays healthy and spends some time at the next level, I fully expect to see him on TV and in the MLS.

Michael is a quiet leader and a tremendous soccer player. I was so impressed with Michael that I called former US National Coach Bruce Arena, who is the current LA Galaxy coach, to keep an eye on him. Michael has a professional attitude and was a pleasure to coach.

He is extremely technically gifted. He can turn against pressure as well as any rising professional player I have seen. He is tremendous in the air, a natural defense screen and a determined ball winner. One of his greatest assets is to instinctively fill in the defensive lanes and compensate for the positional mistakes of others. In addition, Michael is a great teammate.

Season Games Played Goals Assists Shots Shots on Goal Game Winning Goals
2011 20 2 4 38 13 0

Mississippi Brilla (PDL): 2010 - 2011

Azira spent two seasons in PDL with Mississippi Brilla, which is based in Jackson, Mississippi and plays in the Southeast Division in the Southern Conference. He was primarily used as a midfielder. In both of Azira's seasons with the club, it won the Southeast Division and has yet to finish higher than 4th since he left. In his time with the club, Azira finished with 5 goals and 3 assists in just under 2,500 minutes.

Season Games Played Minutes Goals Assists Shots
2010 13 1107 0 1 16
2011 15 1350 5 2 17

Charleston Battery (USL Pro): 2012 - 2013

After an impressive performance at the USL Pro Combine in 2012, Azira was signed by the Charleston Battery. Although he only scored one goal in his first season with the club, it was a big one. In the 74th minute of the 2012 USL Pro title game, Azira provided the only goal of the match, giving Charleston the fourth league title in club history. Azira was more productive in 2013, providing 7 goals and 2 assists, including 2 goals in the playoffs. He also scored one of the 2013 goals of the year against the Harrisburg City Islanders.

Season Games Played Minutes Goals Assists Shots
2012 18 1567 1 0 9
2013 28 2097 7 2 27

Seattle Sounders Reserves (MLS Reserves): 2013

Azira joined the Sounders on trial last fall after the conclusion of the 2013 USL Pro season. He started one match against the Timbers, scored the game winning goal and played a full 90 minutes in a 4-1 win.

Video Highlights:

Charleston Battery Profile

Lindsey Wilson Profile

Daniel Island Soccer Academy Profile

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