UPDATE 12/19: Estrada signed with New Mexico United, an expansion side in the USL Championship, so he will likely make at least one more visit to Cheney Stadium.
Despite a career-best scoring year and leading S2 in goals, David Estrada was released on Tuesday. The 30-year-old, who also served as an assistant coach with the Sounders Academy, is expected to sign with another USL team.
“David had a great season for S2 and was instrumental in the development of our young players in our various programs,” Sounders Director of Player Development Marc Nicholls said in a press release. “We feel very fortunate to have had David back with the Sounders family this past year, and fully support him in his future opportunities.”
When Estrada signed with S2 at the start of the year, it seemed almost as if the organization was doing him a favor. The former first-round pick had been bouncing around USL teams since being released by D.C. United following the 2015 season and was originally here just to stay in shape. When he first arrived, S2 head coach John Hutchison told Estrada that they weren’t interested in signing any players. But after seeing an opening for an Academy coach, Estrada reached out to Nicholls about potentially figuring something out.
Nicholls agreed to the split-duty arrangement, but Estrada said in an interview earlier this year that he wasn’t quite ready to give up on his playing career. After enjoying his best-ever season as a professional, it’s not hard to blame him.
Estrada’s 11 goals in just under 2,000 minutes were easily a career best for him — nearly doubling his previous career high of six goals while scoring .51 goals per 90 minutes. S2 even expressed interest in exercising his option, but Estrada asked to be allowed to join New Mexico United for personal reasons. Hopefully, there will be a place for him in the Sounders organization once he does decide to call it a career.