Monday, October 5, 2015
The offseason for Seattle Sounders FC 2 is barely underway after its elimination from the 2015 USL Playoffs last weekend, but the club is now laying the groundwork to build on what was a successful first season in the USL.
With a season of experience in the league, and the chance to evaluate more than 40 players that competed for the side in 2015, Coach Ezra Hendrickson was happy with the way things went overall as he learned the ins-and-outs of the league, and evaluated what course the side would steer in the offseason.
“We thought that the first season, being our inaugural season, went very well,” Hendrickson said in an interview with SoundersFC.com. “We were able to get some players up from the academy, we were able to get some time for guys at the bottom end of the first team’s roster as well as improve the guys that we signed strictly to S2. Overall I thought it was a good season for us. We know there’s a lot of improvement to be made, but it’s a process.”
Part of that process may see a number of new faces in Rave Green next season. In addition to being successful on the field, S2 was also able to send a player on to the Sounders FC MLS side as Andy Craven – in the club’s parlance – earned his crest in midseason.
With the club looking to not only put a strong product on the field, but also help identify players who will one day compete in MLS, S2’s 2016 roster could take on a very different look.
“What we’re going to try to do every offseason is make sure we have a core group of guys on S2 that is better than the year before, and if at all possible younger than the year before due to guys moving on to the first team,” Hendrickson said. “Some changes definitely have to be made on the team. There might be some players that even though they had a decent season, we don’t see them going to the first team, or they’re a little older than we’d like to have, so we’ll move on with those players.”
As a first-time head coach and former player, Hendrickson is certainly mindful of the impact the decision on who will remain with the club, and who will see their time come to an end with S2, will have.
“It’s not an easy job to determine who to keep and who to let go,” Hendrickson said. “It’s a very difficult task because you’re human, and you’re sitting across from a guy telling him basically we’re not going to move on with you. That’s hard because I think every player on S2 this year worked very hard and put in the effort, but you can only move on with so many players, and you’re always trying to get better.”
In the big picture, though, Hendrickson believes if S2 is performing strongly, it’s a sign the club as a whole is moving in the right direction from top to bottom.“Year after year we’re going to try and get better as far as having a good solid S2,” Hendrickson said. “That’s going to mean the academy is doing well, and it also means we have guys who are on the verge of first-team minutes, so that bodes well for the organization as a whole.”