Danny Leyva is now the youngest Seattle Sounders player to make a MLS gameday roster after he was named to the 18 for Sunday’s game against Los Angeles FC. Leyva, who won’t turn 16 until May 5, is more than two years younger than Victor Mansaray, the previous youngest Sounders to make a gameday roster.
If Leyva actually makes his debut, he’ll become the third youngest MLS player to see regular-season playing time all-time. Only Freddy Adu (14 years, 10 months) and Alphonso Davies (15 years, eight months) are younger than Leyva is now among MLS debutants.
This is likely a bit earlier of a debut than the Sounders had planned, though, as their hand was somewhat forced by a litany of recent injuries. The Sounders are missing six of their 14 most-used outfield players for the LAFC match.
Leyva’s rise through the Sounders’ ranks has been impressive. He was discovered playing for a small premier-level club in Las Vegas as a 13-year-old, trialed with the Sounders Academy soon after and officially joined the club as a 14-year-old. Almost immediately, he started playing up in age groups, notably helping the U17’s win the USSDA title last year as a 15-year-old. Around the same time, Leyva also made his USL debut and signed his first professional contract later in the year.
More recently, Leyva has started every Tacoma Defiance match for which he’s been available and won the GA Cup MVP trophy after leading the Sounders Academy to the Champions Division title.
“At this club we try to reward players that earn a roster spot within the group, and Danny Leyva is no exception,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said the day Leyva was signed. “If a player is good enough, regardless of age, we will give him a look. The coaching staff feels he is ready to participate in all First Team training, and if he continues to work and progress we will include him in games.”