Handwalla Bwana will be the Seattle Sounders’ lone representative in the MLS Homegrown Game against Chivas’ U20 squad on July 30 as part of the All-Star Game festivities. Bwana is one of 22 players named to the MLS roster. Several teams have two representatives, and FC Dallas was the only team with three players on the team.
Bwana has three MLS goals in about 900 minutes over two seasons. He’s the third Sounders player to make the Homegrown roster since the game started to be played in 2014, and the first since Aaron Kovar made the 2016 team. Sean Okoli was named to the 2014 roster.
How the roster is selected — or what criteria is used — is not exactly clear. For the most part, the players who make it are not being used with much regularly by their MLS team. Jordan Morris was never selected, and Paxton Pomykal — probably this year’s best young Homegrown Player — is not on this year’s team, for instance.
Still the absence of someone like Danny Leyva is a bit curious, given his play with youth national teams and even in his two MLS appearances.
2019 MLS Homegrown Team Roster
Goalkeepers: Matt Freese (Philadelphia Union), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake), Mason Stajduhar (Orlando City SC)
Defenders: Aboubacar Keita (Columbus Crew SC), Daniel Kinumbe (Montreal Impact), Erik McCue (Houston Dynamo), Noble Okello (Toronto FC), Donovan Pines (D.C. United), Bryan Reynolds (FC Dallas), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)
Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Cole Bassett (Colorado Rapids), Gianluca Busio (Sporting Kansas City), Edwin Cerrillo (FC Dallas), Thomas Roberts (FC Dallas), Brandon Servania (FC Dallas)
Forwards: Theo Bair (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Handwalla Bwana (Seattle Sounders FC), Mathieu Choinière (Montreal Impact), Omir Fernandez (New York Red Bulls), Benji Michel (Orlando City SC), Justin Rennicks (New England Revolution)