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Sounders add two ex-MLS players to academy coaching ranks

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Troy Perkins decides to retire after long pro career, while Wade Webber joins club from Washington Premier FC.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Sounders added a pair of former MLS players to their academy coaching ranks on Monday, with Troy Perkins become the goalkeeping coach and Wade Webber becoming the head coach of the U15 team. Perkins played nearly a decade in MLS, most recently serving as Stefan Frei's backup last season. Webber, a Seattle-area native, played three years in MLS when the league first started and played three more years with the USL Sounders from 1994-1996.

"Finding the right people to develop our Academy players is important to the long-term success the club," Sounders President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a team release. "Troy brings a wealth of domestic and international playing experience and can pass on what it means to be a professional, while Wade's career as a player, coach and teacher in the Seattle area makes him a great choice to lead our U-15 squad. It's always exciting to add a couple of ex-Sounders and we look forward to seeing what they bring to our Academy."

Perkins is still just 33, and had at least considered continuing his playing career after the Sounders decided not to exercise his option. But this was the second straight offseason he found himself looking for a new team and he apparently wasn't particularly keen on that idea.

"It's a tough decision to make when in your heart you want to compete," Perkins said. "You see the field and that's what you want to do. An opportunity presented itself that provides stability and Seattle's a great place for my family. We wanted to stay here. An opportunity with the club came up that I couldn't pass up."

Webber's ties to the areas run long and deep, as both a player and coach. He first rose to prominence as a prep star, helping lead Federal Way's Thomas Jefferson High to three straight Washington state titles. He played collegiately at the University of Portland, helping lead them to a Final Four appearance in 1988. Among his stops as a professional player were the Seattle Storm (1990), the USL Sounders (1994-96), the Dallas Burn (1997) and Miami Fusion (1998-99). More recently, he's been the head of coaching at Washington Premier FC for the past seven years and last year headed up the state's Olympic Development Program. He's also been a Sounders radio analyst since 2012.

"My conversations with [academy director] Marc Nicholls and Garth Lagerwey have convinced me that the club has not only the ambition to create the best youth development system in North America, but with the support of ownership, there is also a long-term vision and plan for making that happen," Webber said. "I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to join the staff working to make that vision a reality."