Key Seattle Sounders Academy players to watch with S2 this season: Part II
Joseph Mondello SoundersFC.com
As Seattle Sounders FC 2 prepares for its first season in Tacoma, the home stadium isn’t in the only thing that’s changing. Compared to years past, the 2018 squad is considerably younger and has a distinct local influence, featuring six players who came through Sounders Academy. But with just 12 players on the roster, current Sounders Academy prospects, who are eligible to sign amateur contracts and compete in USL, will likely compete for game time throughout the campaign. The S2 season kicks off on Friday night against Portland Timbers 2 (7 p.m. PT | TICKETS).
Here’s Part II of an in-depth look at some of the top youth-team prospects to watch for with S2 this season. You can view Part I here.
Marlon Vargas (Age: 17, Position: Left wing)
One of the most talented prospects in the youth system, Vargas has elevated his offensive output for the U-17s to new heights this season, tallying 16 goals and 20 assists from just 25 appearances across all competitions. A menace in the open field, the California native tends to start out wide before drifting inside, combining with teammates and then playing an incisive pass or shooting from distance. Technical and creative on the ball, Vargas will look to emulate his stellar performances for the Academy at the professional level with S2. Fans at Cheney Stadium can expect plenty of flair from the fluid, clever winger.
Sounders FC Director of Player Development and Academy Director Marc Nicholls: “Marlon possesses some very special qualities. The next step for him is to do so on a more consistent basis, and we look forward to him rising to the challenge at the next level.”
Blake Malone (Age: 16, Position: Center back)
The only center back on this list, Malone will hope to follow in the footsteps of S2 stalwart Sam Rogers, accelerating his development by competing against professionals playing for their livelihood. Signed from Las Vegas, Nev., ahead of the 2017-18 season, the young defender has put in some phenomenal performances for the U-17s this year. An intelligent player with aerial prowess, Malone’s desire to mix it up defensively should lend itself well to the professional game.
MN: “Blake is a very good defender, a top-rate character, and is improving with every opportunity.”
Peter Kingston (Age: 16, Position: Center midfielder)
A teammate of Khai Brisco’s on the 2016 Youdan Trophy-winning Sounders U-15 team, Kingston has been a revelation for the U-17s. With his calm demeanor on the ball and high technical skills, the former FC Alliance star sets the tempo of matches with his excellent range of passing and ability to turn out of pressure. With S2, he’ll benefit greatly by training alongside the likes of Francisco Narbon and Ray Saari, two excellent professionals with plenty of experience in the double-pivot.
MN: “Peter is developing into a very good player. He’s extremely composed in possession and has an eye for the final pass. When we look at Peter’s performances and statistics, perhaps the most revealing thing is that he is involved in a very high percentage of goals scored.”