Editor's note: This is the first of the Seattle Sounders-specific end-of-year awards from Sounder at Heart. Ride of the Valkyries already did their polling on the best Seattle Reign players and those results will be announced soon.
Inspired by the EPL Young Player of Year award, and having a few pretty amazing U23 players in Seattle's past this award seeks to recognize the Sounder player under the age of 23 that had the best season of 2015. Academy players, S2 players, Academy Alum and First Team players are eligible.
Past winners have all been members of the first team and include DeAndre Yedlin, Andy Rose, Servando Carrasco, Steve Zakuani and Fredy Montero.
The following bios are meant to help guide your decision.
Seyi Adekoya (Forward, UCLA, Academy Alum)
With 12 goals scored in 12 starts and 6 sub appearances, the former backup forward in the Academy is making a case to be the Pac-12 Player of the Year. The Sophomore isn't likely to sign this offseason, but it's clear that he deserves the chance to be a pro.
Oalex Anderson (Forward, S2 and St Vincent and the Grenadines)
The fleet 20-year-old joined Sounders 2 late in the year and netted 4 goals while becoming a fixture in the lineup earning nine starts with eight sub appearances. He also has 2 goals in World Cup Qualifying for his nation.
Giuliano Frano (Defensive Mid/Right Back, S2 and Canada U23s)
The undrafted midfielder earned a spot with S2 as a defensive midfielder and eventually shifted to right back. He went from complete unknown in Canada to a last-minute call to their U23 team. In his 2,258 with S2's team he scored twice. With Canada he had a start and a sub appearance for 50 minutes in Olympic Qualifying.
Aaron Kovar (Left mid/Left Back, 1st Team and S2)
One of Seattle's HGPs, Kovar floated between both levels of pro Sounders life mostly as a cross-heavy left mid, but also with a bit of play as a left back. His 1,679 minutes across 1st team, S2, USOC and CCL were highlighted by his play in the CCL. Kovar also had a stunning performance in the year's friendly.
Damion Lowe (Center back, S2)
Lowe is a Generation Adidas player who only made the 1st team MLS bench once this year. He ended up with 210 minutes of USOC play and 1,528 more in the USL. With S2 he was key to their strong defensive performances with a mature body, good long ball and lots of speed from a position normally for slower players. He had 16 starts and 2 sub appearances with a goal with S2.
Victor Mansaray (Forward/Left Wing, 1st Team and S2 and US U20)
Mansaray is the youngest player to sign with Seattle. He was also the first HGP to sign here out of high school. Despite just 2 goals with S2 in about 1,100 all-competition minutes, Mansaray earned calls to both the US U18s and U20s this year.
Duncan McCormick (Defensive Mid/Central Mid, S2)
Duncan will go down in Sounders lore as the first-ever direct signing from the Academy to S2. It was McCormick's third season with USL time (the prior two while being an Academy player). He played 1,028 minutes primarily as a defensive mid, but sometimes in a more box-to-box role.
Nick Miele (Centerback, S2)
Miele is a huge CB that anchors the USL side. He is also their best header on set-pieces scoring 3 goals in his 2234 minutes.
Jordan Morris (Forward, Stanford, USMNT and US U23)
The legendary college players is a Sounders alum who will probably eventually sign. Morris scored five goals at various National Team levels, including one to beat the full Mexican National Team. He also has 8 goals and 2 assists with a Stanford team that is dominating the Pac12.
Cristian Roldan (Central Mid/Defensive Mid/Right Mid/Left Back?, 1st Team)
After falling in the draft to Seattle the Generation Adidas player was expected to be learning how to convert from collegiate CAM to a B2B or D-mid while playing for S2. That project lasted all of 28 minutes with S2. Roldan became a regular rotational player with the 1st team with 11 starts and 14 sub appearances.
Thomas (Left Wing, 1st Team)
Seattle's second dip into Brazil for an attacking player, Thomas earned 670 all competitions minutes as a left winger who attacked the goal, but only scored once. He showed some flair, but fell aside when Ivanschitz, Friberg, Valdez and Pappa came back after the Dire Days.