Photo courtesy Jane Gershovich / Seattle Sounders FC 2
SEATTLE, Wash. – Seattle Sounders FC 2 announced on Monday that it had signed midfielder Azriel Gonzalez, with the 16-year-old becoming the youngest player in club history to sign a professional contract. He joins teammates Sam Rogers, Shandon Hopeau and Lorenzo Ramos as current S2 players who have made the jump from Sounders FC Academy this season.
"Azriel is a very talented young player and we're excited to have him in our organization," said Sounders FC Director of Player Personnel Kurt Schmid. "Since joining the Academy, Azriel has embodied the type of players we aim to develop in our system. We are very excited in his long-term potential."
Originally from Las Vegas, Gonzalez joined Seattle's Academy when he was 13. After starring for Sounders FC's U-16 and U-18 squads while playing above his age group, Gonzalez earned his crack at the professional ranks. In January, Gonzalez was invited to Sounders FC preseason, where the 5-foot-9, 145-pound teen participated with First Team players throughout camp. Since making his USL debut in April, Gonzalez has five appearances and recorded his first career assist in June.
"We have been very impressed with the way Azriel has taken advantage of every opportunity given to him," S2 Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson said. "He is a gifted and motivated player with great instincts and technical abilities."
Gonzalez has also represented the United States at the youth national team level. Last fall, he played for the Stars and Stripes' U16 squad during a tournament in France. He also participated in the International Dream Cup, a tournament that took place in Japan last month.