Tuesday was a nerve-racking day for many college soccer players, but University of Washington star Dylan Teves was at ease. The attacking midfielder inked his future before the MLS SuperDraft, signing a Homegrown contract with the Sounders FC.
Garth Lagerwey, the Sounders general manager and president of soccer, made the announcement before the SuperDraft. The one-year deal has team options for the 2023, 2024 and 2025 seasons.
“We have our newest Hawaiian joining the Sounders,” Lagerwey stated in reference to Teves’ home state and the club’s previous connections to Hawaii in defender Zach Scott, who retired in 2016, and Shandon Hopeau, who was loaned to USL Championship side San Antonio FC last season.
Teves led the Huskies to the 2021 NCAA men’s soccer national title game. He bagged 25 goals and 23 assists in four seasons for UW, including back-to-back hat tricks in the tournament run.
Seattle first spotted Teves at age 15. He relocated to play for the Sounders Academy, which qualifies him for a Homegrown contract with the first team.
“When I was growing up, I didn’t see a lot of professional players in the game from Hawaii,” said Teves, who hasn’t been home in two years due to the pandemic. “I didn’t really have that belief in myself. I just wanted to play on a D-III team living in Hawaii. Seattle gave me the opportunity to kind of see what’s out there and the opportunities that I may not have seen beforehand.”
Most of the UW team and family gathered on campus to watch the SuperDraft livestream. A total of five Huskies were selected, including defender Achille Robin by the Sounders with the 43rd overall pick.
The Sounders move was part of a deal where the club selected Florida Gulf Coast forward O’Vonte Mullings in the first round and subsequently traded him to the New York Red Bulls. In addition to Robin, Seattle will receive $75,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM).
Seattle University midfielder Hal Uderitz was Seattle’s final pick at 76th overall.
“Achille is a real comfortable center back in terms of on-the-ball,” said Craig Waibel, the Sounders’ senior vice president of soccer and sporting director. “That’s something we value and are going to continue to develop in him. … Dylan coming out of college is very similar to when (Federal Way’s) Kelyn Rowe came out of college. Both comfortable on the ball, guys that are brash enough to go find the game as opposed to a player who waits for the game to come to them. (Dylan) forces teams to defend him in unique ways in order to nullify his abilities.”
Teves said emotions swung from nervousness to indescribable excitement as each teammate was selected.
“(Dylan) has been calm because they’ve been working on this deal the better part of two weeks,” UW coach Jamie Clark said. “It’s pretty cool for him. This last year, Dylan had a great season and like all great stories, he chose the perfect moments to really become good. In our NCAA tournament run, he put the team on his back for a couple of games and willed us through some really, really close matches. It was very special.”
Lagerwey also acknowledged during the SuperDraft livestream rumors that former Real Salt Lake midfielder Albert Rusnak is in negotiations with the Sounders. But no deal has been reached yet.
Rusnak was RSL’s team captain in 2021. He started every regular-season match, finishing with 11 goals and 11 assists, but missed the playoff opener against Seattle due to testing positive for COVID-19.
“We’ve had conversations with Albert but no resolutions, yet,” Lagerwey said. “Obviously free agency means that Albert is free to do whatever he’d like, but it would be great if he chose the Sounders. That would be really cool and make our team better.”
Seattle finished second in MLS Western Conference standings last year but lost in the opening round of the playoffs on penalty kicks to RSL.
The Sounders open this season with a CONCACAF Champions League series against F.C. Motagua on Feb. 17 in Honduras and Feb. 24 at Lumen Field. Seattle begins its MLS slate Feb. 27 against Nashville SC at Lumen Field.
MLS players are reporting to training camp and undergoing their physicals this week. Due to recent national team call-ups, Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan (U.S.), winger Jordan Morris (U.S.) and defenders Nouhou (Cameroon) and Yeimar Gomez Andrade (Colombia) are not expected to arrive on-time.
“I can’t wait to get started,” said Teves, who was a practice player for the Sounders last summer. “It’s comforting that I know some of the players and know the coaches. But I still have the nerves of having to earn my spot and having to work just as hard and having to prove myself.”