SUMNER, Wash. (April 8, 2019) — The Seattle Sounders U23s kicked off their 2019 player announcements today by revealing three players that will join the squad for the upcoming season. Goalkeeper Akili Kasim joins the team for his second season, while newcomers Jackson Ragen and R.J. Stretch make their first appearances on the squad.
“We’re excited to have three players joining us from the Sounders Academy for our upcoming season,” Sounders U23 head coach Jason Prenovost said. “Giving players the platform to continue on their path to the professional levels is vital to us as a club, especially when those players come from our local area.”
Kasim, a sophomore at Seattle University, won a Northwest Athletic Conference championship his freshman year at Highline College before joining the Sounders U23s in the summer and transferring to Seattle U in the fall. The West Seattle native earned the starting spot for the U23s in the second half of the 2018 season, making 24 saves in seven starts.
Ragen joins the U23s after a stellar sophomore season at University of Michigan, where he played nearly every minute for the Wolverines in 2018 and scored twice, adding an assist, and comprising part of a back line that kept eight clean sheets. Ragen made the All-Big Ten Tournament Team and was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week in September.
Stretch just finished his freshman season at University of Portland, where he scored two goals and added one assist in 19 games. With the Sounders Academy, Stretch won a National League Division Championship in 2017.
All player signings are pending league and federation approval.
The Sounders U23 team has played in USL League Two for the past seven seasons and has helped over 60 players move on to professional contracts. The U23s are the amateur affiliate of 2016 MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders FC and Tacoma Defiance. The 2019 Sounders U23 season kicks off with a weekend doubleheader on May 17 and 19 against the defending national champion Calgary Foothills FC and Lane United, respectively.