The Seattle Sounders have added a PDL team to their youth development program, partnering with the Tacoma Tide and rebranding the team as Sounders FC U-23. The team will be coached by current Sounders academy director Darren Sawatzky and play somewhere in Pierce County, although a permanent home has not yet been determined.
"The intent is to fill one of the gaps in development that we felt we had at this time," Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer said. "Most importantly for us, it's to bring some of our academy grads who are in university back for the summer so we can observe them, maybe train a day or two with the first team and to just keep tabs on those players."
"Secondarily, there's the potential that a player who doesn't make our team can stay in the area and train and get games with a PDL organization and keep tabs on them."
Hanauer noted that while the U-23 team will be fully amateur, meaning that players can not be paid, the Sounders host several youth camps that could help supplement any non-soccer income players may be receiving. More likely, the team will be heavily stocked with the likes of former Sounders Academy players such as DeAndre Yedlin (Akron), Sean Okoli (Wake Forest), Nick Palodichuk (Duke), Ryan Herman (Santa Clara) and Troy Peterson (College of Charleston).
"For a lot of these guys it's a place they can come back to," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. "It's also an opportunity to watch other college players play some of their summer soccer. It becomes a logical progression, it bridges that gap from the Academy teams to MLS and becomes a great enhancement for the college players."