Danny Leyva has made quite a name for himself this season since he was announced as a homegrown signing earlier this year. He’s made such an impression that it sounds like the Sounders have asked him to stay with the team instead of allowing him to join up with the U-17 US National Team for a training camp this week. We had reported last week that Leyva and two other Sounders players were going to join the national team camp, but Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer has other ideas for the midfielder.
“He is not going to the U-17 Camp.” Schmetzer said. “We need him. You know, the national team is a big deal but I would like to keep a closer tab on some of our guys. When you have guys jumping around to five different teams within a calendar year, it can be confusing for the kid. I’m happy that Danny has earned some minutes and we’ll see how he develops at the end of the year.”
As is with the case with most careers, stability and security are definitely a key factor in developing a young soccer player. The Sounders are aware of that and want to keep Leyva in an environment where he can grow. With the way that injuries have accumulated for the Sounders as of late, there’s a good chuck of first team minutes available for him. He’s already played 278 minutes this year, including his third start of the season in Saturday’s 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. Whether or not this will hurt Leyva’s chances of making the U-17 World Cup roster has yet to be seen. Neither this training camp nor the U-17 World Cup are during FIFA international dates, which means that teams do not have to release players for them.
Schmetzer was also asked if Leyva had changed at all since joining the first team, “[Danny] hasn’t changed at all.” He said. “I thought he’s looked comfortable since preseason. He showed in preseason flashes of what we see now.
“Danny’s growth and maturity will be an ongoing process. That [Dynamo] game was different than the Vancouver game, it was different than the Dortmund game. That was Dortmund, but it was a friendly of course. He’s getting all these new experiences and he’s learning. If you’re looking at that [Dynamo] game as a smaller sample size, in the first half he was okay but in the second half he was able to make adjustments to his game and he played well.”