Seattle Sounders FC's USL side held its final open tryouts over the weekend. Before Saturday's session, which featured four goalkeepers and sixty outfield players, Coach Ezra Hendrickson told Sounder at Heart that the goal is that an S2 player will be with the first team in two to three years.
"One of the things we tell all of the players when they come in is that 'you're here to make the first team eventually. If that's not a goal of yours, if that's not an aspiration of yours, then there's the door.' And so we're looking for guys that we see have potential for the first team. Are we always going to get it right? Maybe not, but we hope to get 95% of our choices as far as players that we bring in up to the first team within 2, 3 years."
This means that while some of the players that come out of the Academy or through tryouts are good enough to compete at the USL level, they may not be appropriate for S2.
While the team will lineup in a 4-3-3 similar to what the first team does, Ezra is focusing on instilling the organizational philosophy, which goes beyond notation.
"In the club, we mainly teach principle of play: playing quickly, guys getting from the front to the back, playing out of the back. It's more of a philosophy of how we play rather than the actual formation, but we will be set up in the formation," he said.
Currently under contract with S2 are forwards Oalex Anderson and Myron Samuel, as well as midfielders Carlos Patino and Amadou Sanyang. With this year's schedule allowing more short-term loans from the MLS side down and no Open Cup commitments, S2 will probably only have a handful of dedicated players. Some of those will come from the tryouts, others will be Sounders draftees that didn't make the MLS side.
Year two for S2 looks to be another one on a developmental path for the organization, and not just in terms of the players.
"I think we are on the right track, it's just our second year now with S2, which is kind of a gap filler between academy and the first team, and we think we're on the right track as far as getting the type of players in that either they come from the academy or we've scouted and brought in that could be first team players and keep the first team a strong team for years."
Preseason for S2 starts on Tuesday.