Sounders HomeGrown Player Signing Philosophy

These three kids are adults now and any of them could be a Sounders First Team player shortly. - Chris Couler - SoundersPhotos.com

With indications that Seattle is likely to sign their first HomeGrown Player what type of player would they look to sign, why and could they be loaned outside of the USA?

The indications of a future HomeGrown Player signing are out in public. The Seattle Sounders have needs, but that will only be part of the decision making process, the larger decision point for Adrian Hanauer and his staff is whether or not the young man is ready to be a professional.

"Our overarching philosophy is that we will sign homegrowns when they are ready to be professional soccer players," Adrian Hanauer told Sounder at Hear, "but certainly if we were seven deep at centerback we might not sign a homegrown because it wouldn't be good for that player. It could be a factor, but it's not the deciding factor."

If that guide is based on who is most ready now and not just who will be the best eventually, the list of players based on their field talent is different. It is not a list of every player ever tracked here at SaH, but narrows to those that are at the top of their games but could use some finishing in the daily professional environment.

Recently over at SoundersFC.com five potential HGP players that meet that ready talent profile were profiled. Yedlin, Jones, Palodichuk, Kovar and Okoli are all highly talented, none fill for-sure needs and they may not get enough playing time under the current Reserve League to properly develop. They still need polish.

Could Seattle do like Philly and their loan of Zach Pfeffer or like Sporting KC and their potential loan of youngster Dom Dwyer?

Hanauer answers, "We have looked into that. It is not an easy situation. You do need the foreign club to pick up the salary in order to fill the roster spot. The reality is that there are not that many teams out there that want to spend 30, 40, 70 thousand on an 18-year-old American kid on loan. But it is something that we would certainly be open to it if it means the player gets better development, better games."

That there is the rub. As long as college is the place to get the most games and most small group training rather than the Reserve League or various different loans (to lower divisions or internationally) a team that is signing HGPs for reasons other than PR is faced with tough decisions on timing their signings. If things change in the ability to loan or how the Reserve League operates maybe more than the one or two Sigi indicated.

"We want to have a higher percentage [5%] than that [succeed] once we start signing our HomeGrowns. We've got to give them opportunities to play. I feel that our program is solid. We've encouraged some of our HomeGrowns to move onto college as an intermediate step for them and I think as we move forward you're going to see some that are very close and maybe even this is the year that we end up signing one or two."

For now 2013 may see the first player raised a Sounder, become a Sounder.

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