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Sounders acquire Jackson Ragen’s rights, trade Chris Hegardt

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Two former Sounders Academy players are on the move.

Charis Wilson courtesy of Seattle Sounders and Tacoma Defiance.

The Seattle Sounders recently made a couple of trades involving former academy players, one incoming and the other outgoing.

The first involved the formal acquisition of centerback Jackson Ragen’s MLS rights. Ragen was selected by the Chicago Fire in last year’s SuperDraft but played for the Tacoma Defiance. Although the trade has not been officially announced, Sounder at Heart did confirm that the Sounders gave up a third-round pick in the 2023 SuperDraft.

Ragen, 22, is expected to compete for a first-team roster spot in training camp, but will not be eligible for a Homegrown Player contract. Despite growing up in Seattle and playing for the Sounders Academy, Ragen’s HGP rights were apparently lost once he went through the SuperDraft. Still, he offers some good potential upside. The 6-foot-3 centerback was among Wade Webber’s most consistent defenders last year, starting all 16 of his appearances and going the full 90 in each of them. He was particularly good in the air both on defense and offense, while still being solid with the ball at his feet.

The other trade involved the Sounders sending Chris Hegardt’s HGP rights to Charlotte FC in exchange for $50,000 in General Allocation Money plus another $50,000 if certain performance-based incentives are met. The midfielder spent two seasons at Georgetown where he had 3 goals and 6 assists. Hegardt was part of the Sounders Academy team that won the GA Cup in 2019, made 17 appearances for the Defiance and spent much of the 2020 preseason with the first team before going off to college, but was apparently not being seriously considered for a first-team contract. He’ll be reunited with Marc Nicholls, who ran the Sounders Academy prior to becoming Charlotte’s technical director last year. He signed a two-year contract with two additional option years.

“Chris was a midfielder we really liked as we evaluated college players across the country in advance of the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, and we’re delighted to have signed him to an MLS contract,” Charlotte Sporting Director Zoran Krneta said in a team release.