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Sounders 2 Player Recaps: The Academics

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A look into #TheFuture and First Team’s future.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

With the third Seattle Sounders FC 2 season now in the books, it seems like a good time to take stock. At times, they looked like a team that was good enough to make, and maybe even compete in the playoffs, but a couple of six-match losing streaks in the second half of the season took them far away from the red line. Luckily, the future, and not the now, is the purpose of S2.

In place of the USL playoffs, let’s take a look at the players that may one day lead the First Team to the MLS playoffs. We’ll start with the players who split time between S2, the Academy, and high school. These are only glimpses, but it will at least familiarize you with some of the names to watch for in the next few years.

I would also suggest looking at my review from last year to get a sense of whether you want to trust my evaluations. (I should note I didn’t count on quite so much S2 turnover, but I will be more wary of that possibility this year).

Christian Koontz (16-years-old, Left Back, 7 starts, 630 minutes)

Going into this season, you would have had trouble finding anyone who thought Christian Koontz would have the most S2 minutes of any Academy player, but a dearth of left backs in the middle of the season gave him the chance to prove himself.

Koontz didn’t bring much offensively, but he did surprisingly well protecting the S2 goal. He was positionally strong, though a little overwhelmed in one-on-one situations. Koontz doesn’t have any standout skills right now, which makes it tough to make too many predictions about his future.

Further Evaluations: At Orange County

Notable Stats: Two interceptions and 2.14 tackles per 90.

2018 projection: He probably doesn't get much time next year with Jake Morris back from injury and Steven Whyte likely to stick around, but we’ll probably see him again in 2019.

Long term projection: Not enough information to make a meaningful prediction at the moment.

Khai Brisco (16-years-old, Centerback/Right Back, 5 starts, 450 minutes)

Brisco is another Academy player who was not on my radar, but racked up a fair amount of minutes in the midseason doldrums.

Surprisingly, a lot of his time came as an extremely undersized CB and unless he grows seven inches, it probably isn’t where he ends up as a pro. What he showed, though, were incredible instincts and elite anticipation. He is quick, but his anticipation takes him to another level.

My guess is his future is at right back, but he needs to improve on his passing in the attacking half where he had a 47% completion rate.

Further Evaluations: At Real Monarchs

Notable Stats: Four interceptions per 90 and 89% tackle success rate.

2018 Projection: I think he might compete for some S2 right back minutes, though Ulysse will probably get most of those if he hangs around.

Long term projection: If he can improve his passing, his anticipation could make him a formidable defensive outside back one day. He is most likely still three to five years from anything approaching first team action but there is absolutely promise.

Milo Barton (19-years-old, Forward, 3 starts, 268 minutes)

After graduating from high school, Barton passed on a scholarship to play for UCSB joining the Sounders’ Academy with the opportunity to play for S2.

Unfortunately, he was never able to break into the Sounders’ USL side and spent most of his time with the Sounders U18 side where he did manage six goals in 19 starts.

Further Evaluations: 2016 review

Notable Stats: .6 shots and 15.1 passes per 90.

2018 Projection: Barton will be too old for the Academy next season, and right now, an S2 contract seems unlikely. He is still eligible to play college soccer next year, so that is an option, or he could end up at a unaffiliated USL side looking to develop a young striker.

Long term projection: He does have the speed and strength to be a solid USL striker someday, and maybe even a little more, but he has a lot of work to do.

Sam Fowler (17-years-old, Goalkeeper, 2 starts, 180 minutes)

Fowler is another Academy player who moved further up the depth chart than expected. It is tough to judge any player on just a couple of games but it is even harder to judge a young goalkeeper in 180 minutes. That said he looked extremely good in his appearance against the Monarchs. He showed good shot-stopping abilities, and more impressively for a young keeper, was excellent coming off his line and controlling his area.

He needs to work some more on his distribution, but I am pretty sure we will see plenty more from Fowler.

Further Evaluations: N/A

Notable Stats: Seven saves per 90 with a 70% save rate (best on S2, and would be in the top five in the league if he qualified minutes wise).

2018 Projection: Fowler is likely to get a lot of the S2 bench goalkeeper time next year, and should get a crack at a few more starts in the first half of the season. He will than head to the University of Washington in the fall.

long term projection: Again, really hard to say, but he is one we should be keeping a close eye on.

Jamie Dimitroff (19-years-old, Midfielder, 0 starts, 131 minutes)

Dimitroff showed the occasional spark going forward but struggled to win one-on-one battles offensively and defensively.

Further Evaluations: At LAG II and 2016 review

Notable Stats: .69 Key Passes per 90 but lost 75% of his duels.

2018 Projection: Dimitroff will need to earn a S2 contract to stick around, and that doesn’t seem especially likely.

long term projection: He is unlikely to play for the Sounders, but not enough info to say for sure how he may perform elsewhere.

Jackson Ragen (19-years-old, Centerback, 1 start, 118 minutes)

In Ragen’s one start he really struggled, but so did his centerback partner Sam Rogers. It is really tough to take away a ton from that match except that Ragen needs to work to become more physical and dominant in the air. He did pass pretty well though and has the size to be a dominant CB, he just needs some more time to develop.

Further Evaluations: N/A

Notable Stats: 82% passing but won only one third of his aerial duels.

2018 Projection: Ragen is currently attending the University of Michigan where he has become a regular starter as a freshman. He will likely remain there next year.

long term projection: If he continues to start for Michigan for the next four years, it will certainly be worth giving him a strong look, but I didn’t see enough to say one way or another if he ends up with the Sounders First Team.

Dylan Teves (17-years-old, Midfielder, 1 start, 116 minutes)

Teves lone start came in defensive midfield against the Monarchs. That is a tough ask for a young player. He really struggled to connect the defense and attack and didn’t do enough to protect the back four. That said, he showed some really impressive dribbling skills and was a pretty dangerous and accurate passer when he did get on the ball. There are definitely some signs that Teves could have a strong future as an attacking midfielder.

Further Evaluations: N/A

Notable Stats: 80% passing in the attacking half.

2018 Projection: Teves should still be with the Academy next year and I would guess he gets a bit more time with S2.

long term projection: Not enough information to say anything with any amount of confidence.

Camilo Santiago (16-years-old, Midfielder, 1 start, 93 minutes)

Played just over 90 minutes in the band of three, but was never able to get himself involved in the games. He showed some good defensive instincts, but overall was not quite ready for the level of play in the USL. At barely 16, he has plenty of time to grow his game.

Further Evaluations: N/A

Notable Stats: 2.9 interceptions per 90.

2018 Projection: Will likely remain with the Sounders’ Academy.

long term projection: Not enough information.

Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (15-years-old, Forward, 1 start, 90 minutes)

Ocampo-Chavez played all 90 minutes of his one start and looked decent. He made some pretty smart runs and was generally positioned well, but was never able to get involved in a game that was mostly dominated by the lofty Real Monarchs.

Further Evaluations: N/A

Notable Stats: Lost all eight of his duels this season.

2018 Projection: Will likely remain with the Sounders’ Academy for the next three years.

long term projection: I would guess we continue to see more of him with S2 over the next couple years. Any predictions past that will have to wait.

Ethan Lotenero (19-years-old, Right Back, 1 start, 90 minutes)

Lotenero came on strong in the S2 preseason and was a force getting forward. Unfortunately, there were some defensive question marks, and when the level of competition rose from college to USL teams, his effectiveness getting forward faltered a bit. As the season wore on, he slid further and further down the depth chart.

Further Evaluations: N/A

Notable Stats: Five clearances per 90.

2018 Projection: Another who will age out of the academy in 2018. A contract with S2 seems unlikely.

long term projection: I don’t see Lotenero’s future being with the Sounders.

Cameron Martin (17-years-old, Midfielder, 1 start, 63 minutes)

Martin started next to Teves in the game against the Real Monarchs. He didn’t do enough defensively but showed some decent passing ability.

Further Evaluations: N/A

Notable Stats: 78% pass completion.

2018 Projection: Is headed to the University of San Francisco in the fall.

long term projection: He will need to be reevaluated after four years at college.

Joe Hafferty (19-years-old, Midfielder/Defender, 0 starts, 30 minutes)

30 minutes really isn’t enough time for me to make any meaningful evaluation. Hafferty is now at Oregon State University where he has 15 starts and 2 goals.

Further Evaluations: N/A

Notable Stats: N/A

2018 Projection: Will most likely remain at Oregon State.

long term projection: He will need to be reevaluated after four years at college.

Paul Rothrock (Midfielder, 0 starts, 23 minutes)

I don’t have much to say, but Academy sources compare Rothrock favorably to Nico Lodeiro. Rothrock is currently playing for Notre Dame where he has yet to feature.

Further Evaluations: N/A

Notable Stats: N/A

2018 Projection: Will most likely remain at Notre Dame.

long term projection: He will need to be reevaluated after four years at college.

Kei Tomozawa (Attacking Midfielder, 0 starts, 12 minutes)

I have been very impressed with Tomozawa the few times I have seen him play for the Academy. He is a dangerous forward passer and cuts infield to dictate from the center very well. He is now at Stanford where he is yet to make an appearance.

Further Evaluations: 2016 review

Notable Stats: N/A

2018 Projection: Will most likely remain at Stanford.

long term projection: He will need to be reevaluated after four years at college.

As all of the failed next great hopes of the USMNT have shown us, evaluating players for the future at 15, 16, and 17 is 50 percent guess work at best, but chances are we'll see at least one or two of these players on a First Team contract some day.