Central California Aztecs Academy players on trial at Seattle Sounders FC. John Pulskamp. Omar Martinez . Marlon Vargas and Francisco Villanueva.
Seattle Sounders Affiliation
Posted July 2016
Seattle Sounders FC today announced its latest youth agreement with Central California Aztecs (CCA). The Bakersfield-based club serves a sprawling area in Central California as a premier youth development destination, and joins North Carolina’s Twin City Youth Soccer Association as Sounders FC’s two out-of-state agreements. With CCA as a youth affiliate, Sounders FC is providing coaching education opportunities, a unique, integrated curriculum and a direct pipeline for players into Sounders FC Academy. Currently, CCA features 45 teams, including a competitive academy program from the U-12 level through U-18. The Aztecs cover a region stretching from Lancaster to Bakersfield to Fresno – a driving distance radius of two hours.
“Our goal is to have one of the preeminent youth soccer academies in the country,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “Central California is rich with talent, and we are confident this region, along with the structure in place at CCA, will be beneficial for our club.”
CCA becomes an adidas-branded club, but is keeping its colors of black and red. Additionally, CCA establishes itself as part of Sounders FC’s organization, despite its closer proximity to many MLS teams. “We were approached by multiple MLS clubs, but the trust was there with Seattle,” said Vice President of Soccer Operations Ray Sanders. “Ultimately, Seattle provided more resources, while allowing us to maintain our identity and create a genuine working relationship. We are very excited to be part of the Sounders family. Seattle is in a class of its own.” “Expanding into the Central California region will strengthen our youth structure,” Sounders FC Academy Director Marc Nicholls said. “We’ve been looking for the right opportunities to continue to grow outside of the Pacific Northwest, and we are excited to bring CCA into the fold. We have been very impressed by their player pool and staff.”
News and information about the Sounders FC Academy, Central California Aztecs and other affiliates, as well as Academy schedules, rosters and staff, can be found on the Sounders FC Academy website via the following link:
Congratulations to Jose (Kale) Lopez (2004) Oscar Rodriguez (2004) and David Duru (2003, not pictured) on being invited to a National Training Center. They were scouted from their academy games in the fall season and trained with some of the top Academy players in the country.