Stuart Hawkins is now the most recent in a rising line of gamers shifting from the Sounders Academy to the professional ranks with the Tacoma Defiance. Hawkins, the 15-year-old skinny quarterback, has already spent a number of years within the Seattle Sounders system, having joined the Sounders Discovery Program at age 12.
Hawkins frolicked with the Sounders First Staff throughout pre-season this yr, making an enduring impression on the workers and veteran gamers round him. Stefan Fry, specifically, recalled Hawkins’ efficiency in a scrimmage: “I remember… in the time we started the Champions League, we played a scrimmage here – first team against second team – and Stu had to slip over to my side and I was very impressed.”
Shortly thereafter, Hawkins performed a key position with the Sounders Below-17 crew as they grew to become back-to-back adidas Cup winners of the technology, defeating the Tigres within the closing. Hawkins gained the match’s Most Beneficial Participant award, exhibiting how influential he was within the sport from his place on the backline.
All of those performances led to time with the US youth nationwide groups, extra coaching with the Sounders First crew, and one look with Defiance earlier than signing with the MLS Subsequent Professional crew. In that debut, a 2-0 win at Colorado Rapids 2, Hawkins put in one thing of a go as he accomplished 42 of his 43 passes—the one go he missed from Hawkins was his first go of the sport. This included 16 correct passes to the opponent’s half and an correct lengthy ball. To go along with that, he additionally gained 1 interference and a pair of out of three duels.
Hawkins clearly has the instruments to be a professional, and now it is about honing these instruments and adapting to a brand new stage. Happily, he is bought a brand new head coach who is aware of what it takes and is as much as the duty of growing gamers.
It will be quick and robust sufficient in addition to technical sufficient, however lots of the sport is performed between the ears,” Defiance coach Wade Webber stated final April.
This understanding and tactical consciousness will include time and visibility. For Frei, Hawkins appears to have what it takes to get on that psychological half.
“I think he’s a very smart player,” stated the veteran goalkeeper this week. “I hope he grows a little bit bigger and fills in, because he is a very physical league, MLS, so he will need to be able to swing with some very strong players. I am sure that will come, but he is a very smart player.”
As a lot as he grows to his dimension, Hawkins nonetheless grows loads. When Hawkins first appeared on the bench at Defiance and had a participant profile created on the MLS Subsequent Professional web site, he was listed at 6’0″ and 146 pounds and by the time his signature was announced he had grown to 6’1″ He added 12 kilos, which is usually to point that at 15 he nonetheless has lots of development forward in each sense of the phrase.
Becoming a member of Deviance because the sixteenth participant to have signed immediately with the crew, Hawkins is shifting to a center-back who should present a very good setting for his development. For instance, Eric Kinzner has taken a really related path to Defiance, having additionally joined the Sounders Academy via SDP and performed CB because the Sounders U17s gained their first Division I GA Cup in 2019, and on the age of 19 already had over 2000 Skilled minutes.
Akel Robben and Hal Oderitz are each barely older – 25 and 22, respectively – however of their first skilled seasons. Each frolicked taking part in faculty soccer in Seattle, with Robben taking part in Jimmy Clark on the College of Washington in 2021 and Oderitz taking part in three seasons with Seattle College below Pete Fewing. Add to that that Wade Webber, a former CB participant himself, loves to teach and develop gamers, and it appears to be like like Hawkins is in good arms.