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Sounders sign two young players to senior roster

Mike Russell/Sounder at Heart

Competition for open senior roster spots is getting tighter after the Seattle Sounders announced the signings of Andy Craven and Tyler Miller. Both players represent a pipeline from S2 to the first team and highlight just how strong the 2015 draft class was. The Sounders now have five players from that draft class signed to senior-team contracts. On their current roster, the Sounders have a total of three players from all their other draft classes combined.

"We're very pleased to add Andy and Tyler to our First Team roster for the upcoming season," Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a press release. "Despite both players battling injuries this past year, our staff was impressed with the progress they made in their first professional season. We think they can be long-term contributors to our squad going forward."

Both players were relatively high-profile college players, but fell to the Sounders later in the SuperDraft than many had projected they'd go.

The Sounders nabbed Craven in the third round, despite an outstanding senior season at North Carolina in which he scored 15 goals and had five assists. Craven ultimately settled for a S2 contract, but after racking up five goals and five assists in his first 14 appearances he joined the first team over the summer. Although Craven only made three MLS appearances before a knee injury sidelined him for the year, the Sounders apparently saw enough promise to bring him back.

Miller took an even more circuitous path to a first-team contract. The 6-foot-4 goalkeeper was considered one of the top prospects in the draft after posting 36 shutouts during his four years at Northwestern. But he fell to the Sounders at No. 33 overall after he made it known that he intended to pursue a European contract.

Miller did sign a European deal -- with lower-division German side SVN Zweibrücken -- but after spending about half a season there, he signed with S2 over the summer. Miller only made one appearance before an injury sidelined him, but the Sounders thought enough of him to apparently allow him to compete for the backup spot to Stefan Frei. Miller's signing gives the Sounders three goalkeepers under contract -- with fellow 2015 draftee Charlie Lyon being the other -- and it looks like the Sounders could forgo signing a veteran backup.

The Sounders now have 22 players under contract for 2016, leaving room from five to seven more signings.

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