Stuart Hawkins is now the most recent in an ever-growing line of gamers to take the step from the Sounders Academy into the skilled ranks with Tacoma Defiance. Hawkins, a lanky 15-year-old centerback, has already spent a number of years within the Seattle Sounders system, having joined the Sounders Discovery Program on the age of 12.
Hawkins frolicked with the Sounders First Crew throughout this yr’s preseason, the place he made a long-lasting impression on the employees and veteran gamers round him. Stefan Frei, specifically, recalled Hawkins’ efficiency in a scrimmage: “I keep in mind … proper across the time after we began Champions League, we performed a scrimmage right here — First Crew in opposition to second group — and Stu needed to truly slide in on my aspect and I used to be fairly impressed.”
Not lengthy after that, Hawkins went on to play a key function with the Sounders U17s as they grew to become back-to-back Technology Adidas Cup winners, defeating Tigres within the last. Hawkins gained Event MVP, illustrating how influential he was on the sport from his spot on the again line.
These performances have all led to time with US Youth Nationwide Groups, extra coaching with the Sounders First Crew, and one look with Defiance previous to signing with the MLS Subsequent Professional aspect. In that one look, a 2-0 highway win in opposition to Colorado Rapids 2, Hawkins placed on one thing of a passing clinic as he accomplished 42 of 43 passes — the one move that missed his mark from Hawkins was his first move of the sport. That included 16 correct passes into the opponent’s half and one correct lengthy ball. To go together with that, he additionally gained one deal with and a pair of of three duels.
Hawkins clearly has the instruments to be a professional, and now it is about honing these instruments and adjusting to a brand new degree. Happily, he is received a brand new head coach who’s conscious of what it takes and is as much as the duty of growing gamers.
“He’ll be quick sufficient and robust sufficient along with being technical sufficient,” Defiance head coach Wade Webber mentioned again in April, “However a lot of the sport is performed between the ears.”
That understanding and tactical consciousness will include time and publicity. To Frei, Hawkins appears to have what it will take to get that psychological half.
“I believe he is a really good participant,” the veteran goalkeeper mentioned this week. “Hopefully he grows into his measurement slightly bit extra and fills out, as a result of it is a very bodily league, MLS, so he’ll want to have the ability to swing round with some guys which can be fairly sturdy. I am positive that can come, however a really good participant.”
So far as rising into his measurement, Hawkins may be very a lot nonetheless rising. When Hawkins made his first bench look for Defiance and had a participant profile generated on the MLS Subsequent Professional web site he was listed at 6’0” and 146 kilos, and within the time resulting in his signing announcement with the group he is grown to six’ 1” and added 12 kilos, which is usually to level out that at 15 he is moderately nonetheless received loads of rising forward of him in each sense.
Hawkins joins Defiance because the sixteenth participant signed on to the group, and steps right into a centerback group that ought to present a great atmosphere for his progress. For one, Eric Kinzner took a really related path to Defiance, having additionally joined the Sounders Academy by means of the SDP and performed CB because the Sounders U17s gained their first top-tier GA Cup championship in 2019, and at 19 has already augmented greater than 2,000 skilled minutes.
Achille Robin and Hal Uderitz are each a bit older — 25 and 22, respectively — however of their first skilled seasons. Each frolicked enjoying school soccer in Seattle, with Robin enjoying for Jamie Clark on the College of Washington in 2021 and Uderitz enjoying three seasons with Seattle College beneath Pete Fewing. Add in that Wade Webber, a former CB himself, loves instructing and growing gamers, and Hawkins appears to be in protected arms.