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Academy Director Darren Sawatzky Fired

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Soccerwire.com broke the story yesterday. Several hours later Jeremiah Oshan independently confirmed the news.

Darren Sawatzky (right)
Darren Sawatzky (right)
Mike Russell - Sounder at Heart

When Seattle Sounders FC launched their Academy, former player Darren Sawatzky was selected to oversee the ambitious project. As of Monday Sawatzky is no longer the Technical Director.

Regardless of what the reasons are, and those are not yet public, it puts Seattle into interesting circumstances. They go from having an advantage with two members of the French Football Federation/MLS partnership back to just one (U15 and younger coach Marc Nicholls).

As the Technical Director Sawatzky helped scout and recruit talent, aided in coaching strategies and oversaw administrative duties to manage the four official teams within the Academy system. Those teams end their formal seasons in mid-summer with a few weeks off before the next season starts.

Just four seasons into USSDA play, the Academy has already produced four pros (Yedlin, Kovar, Okoli, and Jamael Cox). Three signed with Sounders FC and Cox was in the NASL with the Tampa Bay Rowdies before rejoining the Sounders U23s this year. With talents just on the edge of becoming pros (Jones, Morris, etc.) the influence that a TD and the various coaches can have on the First Team is clear.

Without Sawatzky in the fold, Seattle's organizational structure will lack his influence and input, and the young players will be without someone repeatedly described to Sounder at Heart as a man whose desire was to raise good men first and soccer players second.

Darren Sawatzky will remain the coach and GM of the Sounders U23s.