The MLS season may be over, but there is still some quality college soccer to keep the ardent fan occupied.
A good place to start is the University of Washington, where coach Jamie Clark‘s men’s team, one featuring a few Sounders FC academy products, has been one of the best in the country all season. The 13-1-4 Huskies are ranked No. 3 overall in the latest coaches poll and could clinch the Pac-12 regular season title with a road win Sunday at Oregon State.
The conference, keep in mind, is loaded with UCLA and Cal also ranked in the top five nationally. Forward Darwin Jones has six goals and four assists as the team’s co-leading scorer and is a candidate to be a homegrown signing for the Sounders in the near future (he has trained with the first team in the past). Other familiar names from the youth development program are Michael Gallagher and Ian Lange, among others.
The UW women, featuring players you might know from the Sounders Women (e.g. Lindsay Elston, Allie Beahan), finished the season Friday on a tough three-game losing streak.
There is also some good stuff going on at Seattle University, both with the men and women. Men’s coach Pete Fewing, who does broadcast work for Sounders FC, was named Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year on Tuesday after leading the Redhawks (8-8-4 overall, 7-0-3 league) to the WAC’s regular season title .
Seattle U. had gone 3-13-1 in 2012, 1-8-1 in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, so it has been a solid turnaround. In some other Redhawks to win WAC awards, Miguel Gonzalez, a Yelm native, won Offensive Player of the Year and Kyle Bjornethun of Snohomish won Freshman of the Year. Along with Gonzalez, midfielder Ian Hines and goalkeeper Jake Feener were named to the all-league first team.
Fewing’s team will be the No. 1 seed going into this week’s WAC Tournament.
Last but certainly not least are the Seattle U. women, who are into the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history after claiming both WAC titles, regular season and postseason tournament. Coach Julie Woodward‘s team is the first in the school’s history to make the NCAA tournament — in any sport — since making the leap to Division I. They have a 17-2-2 record and are on a 15-game winning streak heading into a first-round game against No. 3 Portland on Saturday.
Also in the NCAA field are the WSU women, who finished second in the Pac-12 and face Illinois in the first round.