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Defiance sign another phenom from Academy

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Cody Baker, 17, joins Tacoma as a pro after playing 67 minutes in two appearances.

Cody Baker is second from the right in the top row in this lineup photo from his only start.
Charis Wilson courtesy of Seattle Sounders and Tacoma Defiance

After joining the Seattle Sounders Academy at age 13 Cody Baker’s dream of being a pro soccer player took a major step forward Wednesday. The Issaquah-born and raised defender signed with Tacoma Defiance joining the side that is 5th in the Pacific Division (3-4-4, -3 GD).

Baker has a single start with Tacoma, playing as the RCB in their 3-4-3. He played 55 minutes in that win and 12 minutes in Defiance’s 3-1 win over San Diego Loyal. Both of those were on a USL Academy contract.

Throughout 2021, the 17-year-old Baker has split training time with the Sounders and Defiance. Like many of the youngest signings there are questions about his future position. He’s played mostly as a centerback in the Academy but trains mostly as a right wingback. His limited pro play was as an arguably undersized CB who performed well against one of the most potent offenses in the USL Championship.

The organization is excited about his work ethic and training habits, a theme of their Academy-to-Defiance signings this season (Obed Vargas, Juan Alvarez).

“On top of his quality, his mentality and competitive spirit have really come through in his time playing with Defiance and in training with the First Team,” Sounders FC Director of Player Development Henry Brauner said in a statement. “We are excited and hopeful to see him develop as a professional over the coming years.”

The move brings Wade Webber’s Tacoma Defiance to 18 players plus Sota Kitahara who is on loan. Defiance are in the middle of an extended break after their match at Oakland Roots on July 17 was rescheduled due to Covid-19 positives in the Roots gameday group. Defiance’s next match is July 29 at Cheney Stadium against the surging San Diego Loyal.

Tacoma Defiance Roster

Keeper — Christian Herrera

Centerbacks — Cody Baker, Tom Brewitt, Eric Kinzner, Taylor Mueller

Wingbacks — Joe Hafferty, Randy Mendoza, Issa Rayyan, Alex Villanueva

Center Mids — Carlos Anguiano, Danny Robles, Obed Vargas,

Forwards/Wingers — Samuel Adeniran, Juan Alvarez, Alec Diaz, Azriel Gonazlez, Ray Serrano, Marlon Vargas

Academy signings — Cole Kulhanek (GK), Conrad Lee (GK), Wyatt Nelson (GK), Taka Sasaki (LWB)

Sounders Loandowns — Reed Baker-Whiting, Abdoulaye Cissoko, Stefan Cleveland, Ethan Dobbelaere, Danny Leyva, Jimmy Medranda, Spencer Richey, Andrew Thomas