Seattle Sounders FC U-23
|Full name||Sounders FC U-23|
|Founded||2006 (as Tacoma FC)|
|Stadium||Franklin Pierce High School
|Owners|| Lane Smith
|Head Coach||Darren Sawatzky|
|League||USL Premier Development League|
|Website||Club home page|
Sounders FC U-23 is an American soccer team based in Tacoma, Washington, United States. Founded in 2006, the team plays in the USL Premier Development League (PDL), the fourth tier of the American Soccer Pyramid, in the Northwest Division of the Western Conference.
In 2011, Cliff McElroy & Lane Smith also acquired the Tacoma Tide Men’s PDL Franchise which took on the name; Sounders FC U-23 PDL Team. The function of the Sounders FC U-23 PDL team will be to compete for a PDL title while helping to develop young future Sounders FC Players. The Sounders U-23’s will play their home games in the Tacoma South Sound area and will wear the official kit of Seattle Sounders FC.
Tacoma were introduced into the league at very short notice in 2006 when it was announced that the now-defunct Spokane Shadow franchise were suspending operations for the season, and during their first season they were simply referred to as Tacoma F.C.. Under the leadership of Mike Jennings[disambiguation needed] as head coach, the first few games were tough for the Yellows. Three defeats in their first five games - including 3-0 losses to both BYU Cougars and Ogden Outlaws - were perhaps indicative of the short pre-season timescale the team were forced to endure. They finally got their first win, 4-0 away at Cascade Surge, and although their home form improved considerably as the season progressed, their away results were less so. The home wins over Yakima Reds and Cascade were impressive, but three defeats in their final four games, including a 3-0 hammering by Abbotsford Rangers on the final day, left Tacoma 5th in the Northwest table, 16 points off the leaders. Rory Agu was the top scorer with 5 goals, while Spencer Schomaker registered 3 assists.
2007 began with a new official name - Tacoma Tide - which they officially unveiled on 23 March. Similarly, the club's on field fortunes improved markedly over 2006. Tide were immense at home, going their entire season undefeated, and dropping just 2 points in a 1-1 tie with Ogden Outlaws in June. Tacoma conceded just 3 goals at home all year, and enjoyed a number of impressive victories, including a 4-1 win over Spokane Shadow, a 3-0 win over defending champions Abbotsford Rangers, and a 5-0 demolition of Yakima Reds in their final home game of the season. Tacoma's away form was no less potent, their 6-0 thrashing by BYU Cougars the only blip of an otherwise superb season. By the end of the regular season Tacoma sat in second place in the Northwest division, and were off to the playoffs in Fresno; however, Tide lost 4-1 in controversial circumstances to Fresno Fuego in the semi fimal game which saw both Ciaran O'Brien and Spencer Schomaker sent off. Despite the disappointment of the playoff defeat, Tacoma nevertheless enjoyed a strong year. Rory Agu was again one of Tide's top marksmen with 7 goals, while MLS-bound Ciaran O'Brien notched an impressive 7 goals and 5 assists.
Tacoma were looking to build on their impressive sophomore season in 2008, but started the year with an unexpected 5-2 defeat to Spokane Spiders on 'neutral territory' in Idaho. However, it wasn't long before head coach Fran O'Brien has righted the ship, and had the Tide heading back in the right direction. Tacoma were simply unstoppable at home, dropping just two points there all season long: they demolished Cascade Surge, Ogden Outlaws, Spokane Spiders, Abbotsford Mariners and Vancouver Whitecaps Residency in successive games, scoring 20 goals without reply, Rory Agu scoring six of them himself. Tide were equally resilient away from home, and as the end of the regular season drew near they were one of three teams in with a shout at the post season. They suffered a slight stutter in late June, with back-to-back defeats (including a 5-1 thumping at the hands of Vancouver Whitecaps Residency), but they recovered to rattle off three more high-scoring victories in their final three games, including a topsy-turvy 4-3 win over Cascade Surge, and a rampant 6-2 walloping of Yakima Reds that featured a hat trick from Spencer Schomaker and gave them the divisional title over Vancouver on goal difference. Tide travelled to Fresno for the Western Conference, and exacted revenge on Fresno Fuego for their 2007 playoff defeat with a resounding 3-0 victory in front of over 3,000 fans. The Conference Final saw them face divisional rivals Vancouver Whitecaps Residency for a third time; unfortunately for Tacoma, they were on the receiving end of a 4-1 final score. Rory Agu and Spencer Schomaker ended the year as Tide's top marksmen, with 11 and 9 goals respectively, with Schomaker also contributing 5 assists.
O'Brien was replaced as Head Coach by former Rochester Rhinos and Seattle Sounders midfielder Greg Howes in 2009, and the change in leadership, combined with the excellence of the expansion teams in the Northwest, seemed to affect Tacoma on the field. They started the season fairly well with 2 wins and 2 ties in the first five games, including a heartstopping 4-3 victory over Cascade Surge in which Nikolas Besagno scored an injury time winner, but June saw a dramatic dip in form for the Tide where they suffered three heavy losses in consecutive games (6-3 to Victoria Highlanders, 4-1 to Yakima Reds, 4-3 to Portland Timbers U23's) which albeit ended their playoff chances before the end of June. Back-to-back wins over Yakima and Spokane briefly rekindled the dying flames of hope on the season, but conceding 10 goals in 2 games at home to Abbotsford Mariners and Victoria at the beginning of July was the final nail in the coffin. The 4-3 loss to the Kitsap Pumas on the final day of the season - despite two goals in injury time from player/coach Greg Howes - left the Tide in seventh place, a full 20 points behind divisionl champs Kitsap, and out of the playoffs for the first time in three years. Rory Agu was again Tacoma's top scorer, hitting the net 11 times, while Leighton O'Brien provided 4 assists.
2010 began with a change in coaching with former Canadian national team player Gerry Gray replacing Greg Howes. 2010 also saw the team acquire several new players, as well as see some players return from other teams. Chris Sanders joined after a stint with FC Nuremberg and Mark Conrad joined from Kitsap Pumas. Raphael Cox rejoined the team after a year with Real Salt Lake and an MLS Championship, while Spencer Schoemaker joined Mark Conrad in crossing the Narrows Bridge to play foe his old team. Several other new faces, including Steve Pirotte, Brandon Henry, Daniel Gray, and Vlad Voin, also joined the team. The season began badly for the Tide with back to back defeats to Kitsap Pumas, 3-0, and Portland Timbers, 1-0. Tide had an opportunity to tie the game against Portland, who went on to win the PDL Championship undefeated and untied, with a 91st minute penalty kick. However, Tide all time leading scorer Rory Agu hit his shot over the bar. Tide responded with two strong performances, winning 4-1 against both Yakima and Spokane. Spencer Schoemaker scored 2 goals against Yakima and Chris Sanders opened his account as well, then followed up with 2 against Spokane. This kicked off a 9 game unbeaten streak. Next up was Abbotsford Mariners where Tide received the first in a series of red cards throughout the season. Wes Van Hooser received a red card,as well as an Abbotsford defender, shortly after scoring in a 1-0 win. A road trip to Canada ensued with Victoria Highlanders and Vancouver Whitecaps awaited. Tide drew 2-2 with Victoria, goals coming from Elliott Morton and Daniel Gray. Gray was on target again against Whitecaps Residency and Chase Tangney was sent off but Tide held on for a 2-1 victory. Two 1-0 victories ensued, over Washington Crossfire and Victoria, but the victories were dampened by a red card and lengthy suspension for Raph Cox. A trip to Eastern Washington began with a disappointing 4-4 draw with Spokane but ended with an emphatic 7-1 victory against Yakima. Portland Timbers visited next but despite taking an early lead through a penalty kick Timbers came back to wi n 2-1 with an 85th minute goal. Tacoma bounced back with consecutive victories over Vancouver and Abbotsford. Goalkeepers Scott Barnum and Jordan Jennings were instrumental in the victories, blocking penalties to preserve wins. Tacoma needed a win against Crossfire to keep pace with Kitsap and qualify for the playoffs. Unable to capitalize on early opportunities Tide fell behind and had to settle for a 1-1 draw. With the two playoff spots locked up by Kitsap and Portland the last game of the season against Kitsap was for pride only. Tide never recovered after giving up a first minute goal and Kitsap won 3-2 with Steve Pirotte receiving a red card. The season was nonetheless an improvement from 2009 with the team finishing third and only narrowly missing out on a playoff spot.
In August 2011, ownership of the team was reorganized as the club sought new investors.
On January 25, 2012, it was announced that the Tide will re-brand as Sounders FC U-23.
As of May 29, 2013.
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Notable former players
- Anthony Arena
- Nikolas Besagno
- Raphael Cox
- John Fishbaugher
- Doug Herrick
- Greg Howes
- Mutanda Kwesele
- Ciaran O'Brien
- Leighton O'Brien
- Adam West
- DeAndre Yedlin
|Year||Division||League||Regular Season||Playoffs||Open Cup|
|2006||4||USL PDL||5th, Northwest||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2007||4||USL PDL||2nd, Northwest||Conference Semifinals||Did not qualify|
|2008||4||USL PDL||1st, Northwest||Conference Finals||Did not qualify|
|2009||4||USL PDL||7th, Northwest||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2010||4||USL PDL||3rd, Northwest||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2011||4||USL PDL||8th, Northwest||Did not qualify||Did not qualify|
|2012||4||USL PDL||1st, Northwest||Semifinals||Did not qualify|
|2013||4||USL PDL||4th, Northwest||Did not qualify||2nd Round|
Click on year for team's season wiki.
- USL PDL Northwest Division Champions 2008
- USL PDL Northwest Division Champions 2012
- Mike Jennings[disambiguation needed] (2006)
- Fran O'Brien (2007–2008)
- Greg Howes (2009)
- Gerry Gray (2010–2011)
- Darren Sawatzky (2012–present)
- Franklin Pierce High School; Tacoma, Washington
- Cheney Stadium; Tacoma, Washington
- Tumwater High School; Tumwater, Washington
Attendance stats are calculated by averaging each team's self-reported home attendances from the historical match archive at http://www.uslsoccer.com/history/index_E.html.
- 2006: 106
- 2007: 197
- 2008: not yet available
- 2009: 308
- 2010: 201
- 2011: 126