Dozen Sounders Academy players sign National Letters of Intent for 2014-15 college season

Darren Sawatzky via twitter.com/dtarzan66

This year's U-18 team put more players in high level colleges than any previous season. The 2014 college season will see a total of 13 players formerly in Rave Green on the pitch as freshmen as Kalamar started his college education this winter.

Scattered among schools local (UW, Western, Gonzaga), down the West Coast (UCLA, Santa Clara, San Diego State) and to the East (Harvard, Wake Forest, Davidson) Seattle Sounders Rave Green will be a bright memory for students in Purple, Crimson and all colors of the rainbow.

Justin Crichlow picked Harvard, but it is not just for the academics of an Ivy League school.

"I was just really looking to balance academics and soccer at the same time. I think Harvard is the best place where I can excel in both areas. I love the campus, the environment and the coach that's there right now."

Crichlow pointed to Columbus Crew HGP Ross Friedman as a player who helped in his decision and as a sign his ultimate goal.

That ultimate goal is similar for former U-17 National Team player Paul Christensen. He is heading to the University of Portland. UP has a long history of producing professional keepers.

"Something like the last six keepers have gone pro. When you're looking at a school like that you can't ignore that fact."

These young men all are taking the next step in their soccer careers and in life. Today, they were honored by the first team joining the professionals after the club's second practice. Each player was introduced to the group and a photo was taken with player(s) that went to their school or conference. If no current Sounders went there a substitute happily stepped in for the shot. When Seyi Adekoya (UCLA) stepped up he didn't just get players but many in the coaching staff huddled around for the photo at the VMAC.

The smiles didn't just come from the 17 and 18 year olds heading off to college, but from all of the players, coaches and other staff at the VMAC.

List of Seattle Sounders FC Academy Under-18 Commitments
Seyi Adekoya (Forward, Lakeside): UCLA
Garrett Barber (Defender, Mount Vernon HS): Western Washington
Satoshi Chaffin (Forward, Rogers HS): Santa Clara
Paul Christensen (Goalkeeper, Woodinville HS): Portland
Justin Crichlow (Defender, Meadowdale HS): Harvard
Fischer Gallinger (Defender, Gig Harbor HS): Gonzaga
Duncan McCormick (Midfielder, Seattle Academy) : Wake Forest
David Olsen (Forward, Thomas Jefferson HS): San Diego State
Marcus Tinsley (Defender, Todd Beamer HS): Western Washington
Matt Reinikka (Defender, Henry Jackson HS): Davidson
Ben Willis (Goalkeeper, Federal Way HS): Gonzaga
Henry Wingo (Forward, Shorecrest HS: Washington

This is the next wave of #TheFuture. You can watch them play next on February 22nd.

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