Wednesday, September 30, 2015
After reaching the playoffs, and seeing Andy Craven become the first player to make the move from Seattle Sounders FC 2 to the club’s MLS side, Sounders FC General Manager Garth Lagerwey said on Tuesday he was pleased with S2’s inaugural season in the USL.
“We’re obviously happy to make the playoffs, we’re happy to have signed our first player to the Sounders off that team,” Lagerwey said to reporters. “I think there are some guys on that team that are going to get invites to the first team preseason next year, but ultimately that is how that team will be judged, by how many first team players they produce.”
S2 fell 2-0 to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Friday night, but had a solid first go-around in the league as one of only four first-year teams to advance to the postseason. Nine players from Sounders FC made more than 10 appearances for the side, including forward standout Craven, who had five goals and five assists in 14 appearances for the side before signing with Sounders FC on June 27.
In addition, three Homegrown Players – Darwin Jones, Victor Mansaray and Aaron Kovar – made regular appearances for S2, as they combined for 47 appearances and more than 3,000 minutes of action. With the current trend of Homegrown Players making their way into MLS lineups on a more frequent basis, Lagerwey believes S2 is a key step for the Sounders’ young standouts as Seattle looks to bolster its squad from within.
“I think we’ve all seen the exciting headlines around the league, with a couple of weeks ago Dallas starting five Homegrown players in a game, and against us I think Kansas City started three Homegrown players, and I definitely think that’s the way the league’s going,” Lagerwey said.
“You look at the number of Homegrowns Vancouver played against us, and you may say, hey, not all those teams got great results, but that’s part of believing in young players and bringing them up, and as I’ve said – probably ad nauseam at this point – S2 is the best way to do that, because we can sign the Homegrowns, put them with S2, get them experience there and hopefully put them in a position to succeed once they reach the Sounders level.”
Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid echoed Lagerwey’s sentiments on the team’s success, and gave credit to Coach Ezra Hendrickson on the job he had done to lead the team to the playoffs despite having a rotating squad at times throughout the year.“I think Ezra did a good job. It’s a difficult situation … from week-to-week you’re not quite sure what your player personnel is going to be,” Schmid said. “If you’re an independent team you’ve pretty much got your player personnel, they’re going to be with you, you know what’s coming week-to-week except for injuries, but with us it was definitely a changing kind of scenario, so that made it difficult, but there are some players have shown well for his team, and people that we’re certainly going to keep an eye on and keep involved.”