A quiet offseason finally got a bit of life on Thursday when the Seattle Sounders announced the signing of Homegrown Player Handwalla Bwana. The midfielder is coming off a pair of seasons at the University of Washington in which he totaled 12 goals and 13 assists over about 2,500 minutes. After winning the Pac-12 freshman of the year, he followed that up with an eight-goal, six-assist sophomore campaign that earned him all-Pac-12 honors.
“We’re excited to add Handwalla to our squad, giving us another dynamic young prospect from our Academy,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey in the team’s press release. “We would like to thank everyone in his development pathway who helped get him this far, including his coaches at Seattle United and Coach Jamie Clark’s staff at the University of Washington. Big things have small beginnings, and it’s now on us to continue that development process in the professional ranks.”
Bwana’s college coach, Jamie Clark, likened his game to Darlington Nagbe’s.
“He’s a great attacking player that reminds me a lot of Darlington Nagbe at a younger age,” Clark said before the start of Bwana’s freshman season. “He still has a long way to go if he’s ever going to reach the same heights as Nagbe, but his ability to run with the ball makes him really fun to watch.”
Prior to joining the Huskies, Bwana attended Ballard High School and played for Seattle United before joining the Sounders Academy at the U-18 level. He also made six appearances for S2.
Of course, that only scratches the surface of Bwana’s story, which was told in vivid detail by the Seattle Times in 2016. Bwana is a native of Kenya who spent six years in a refugee camp before being relocated with his family to the United States in 2010. They ultimately found their way to Seattle.
His transition to American life has not always been easy, but his ability on the field has never been doubted.
Now, he’ll get a chance to show it at an even higher level.