Ever since the Seattle Sounders launched their USL affiliate, they’ve done a remarkably good job of retaining their most promising academy talent. One may have just gotten away, though.
Orange County SC — a USL team that has recently been snapping up promising youth national team players — announced on Friday that they had signed center back Blake Malone. Malone was recently called into the United States U-20 team and had been offered a Defiance contract before attending the University of North Carolina where he had started 12 times as a freshman.
Prior to joining North Carolina, Malone helped lead the Sounders Academy U17 team to a USSDA title in 2018 and was considered among the top college prospects. Malone spent two seasons with the Sounders Academy after moving here on the homestay program.
“I am very happy to join OCSC and I needed a new challenge to push myself to the next level,” Malone said in a OCSC release. “The USL is a very competitive league and OCSC specifically provides the professional pathway to achieve my dreams.”
Although they’d need to work out a deal with OCSC, the Sounders retain the ability to sign Malone to a Homegrown Player contract until he’s 23.
This story was originally published on Jan. 31 and updated throughout on Feb. 1.