S. Okoli (U-20 MNT)

WPFC Alumnus and Sounder's FC Academy standout forward continues to excel

(FEBRUARY 17, 2012) - U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team head coach Tab Ramos has named a 26-player roster for a domestic training camp from Feb. 20-March 1 in Clermont, Fla. 

As part of the camp, the U.S. U-20 MNT will face the reserve teams from FC Dallas on Sunday, Feb. 26, at 4 p.m. ET and Montreal Impact on Wednesday, Feb. 29, at 10:30 a.m. ET. Both matches will take place at the Disney Wide World of Sports complex.

The squad is composed of six players born in 1994, with the rest born in 1993. The roster features four Development Academy players – Daniel Garcia, Alfred Koroma, Collin Martin and Andrew Oliver. A total of 19 total players having gone through the Development Academy during their career. Ten players are college players, with Seth Casiple and Christian Dean coming from California and Mikey Lopez and Boyd Okwuonu hailing from North Carolina.

Ten are signed to professional teams. Mexican side Santos Laguna was the only club to send more than one player, with Daniel Cuevas, Jesus Guzman and Benji Joya all representing the Guerreros. Juan Pablo Ocegueda comes from fellow Mexican Primera Division club UANL Tigres, and Victor Pineda and Omar Salgado come from MLS teams Chicago Fire and Vancouver Whitecaps, respectively. Villyan Bijev, Sean Cunningham, Matt Dunn and Kamil Kaminski all play in Europe.

Fourteen players are returning from the U-20 MNT’s January camp in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., including Cunningham and Salgado, who were both also on the roster for Ramos’s first camp in Duisberg, Germany. The other 12 players are Bijev, AJ Cochran, Daniel Cuevas, Garcia, Guzman, Koroma, Martin, Eric Miller, Ocegueda, Sean Okoli, Okwuono and Walker Zimmerman.

Ramos is preparing the U-20s for the 2013 CONCACAF U-20 Championship, which will likely take place in early 2013. The tournament will determine the region’s qualifiers for the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup being held in Turkey from June 21-July 13. Every player on the roster is age-eligible for the upcoming U-20 World Cup.

U.S. U-20 Men’s National Team Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Tomas Gomez (Georgetown; Webster Groves, Mo.), Jesus Guzman (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Kamil Kaminski (Legia Warszawa; Berlin, Conn.)

DEFENDERS (8): AJ Cochran (Wisconsin; St. Louis, Mo.), Sean Cunningham (Molde FK; Troy, Mich.), Christian Dean (California; East Palo Alto, Calif.), Mobi Fehr (Unattached; Tokyo, Japan), Eric Miller (Creighton; Woodbury, Minn.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (UANL Tigres; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (North Carolina; Edmund, Okla.), Walker Zimmerman (Furman; Lawrenceville, Ga.).

MIDFIELDERS (10): Seth Casiple (California; Rocklin, Calif.), Daniel Cuevas (Santos Laguna; Sacramento, Calif.), Matt Dunn (OFK Beograd; Dallas, Texas), Daniel Garcia (FC Dallas Academy; Dallas, Texas), Alejandro Guido (Unattached; Chula Vista, Calif.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Mikey Lopez (North Carolina; Mission, Texas), Collin Martin (D.C. United Academy; Chevy Chase, Md.), Daniel Metzger (Maryland; Staten Island, N.Y.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bollingbrook, Ill.)

FORWARDS (5): Villyan Bijev (Fortuna Düsseldorf; Fresno, Calif.), Alfred Koroma (Solar Chelsea SC; Southlake, Texas), Sean Okoli (Wake Forest; Federal Way, Wash.), Andrew Oliver (Chicago Fire Academy; Indianapolis, Ind.), Omar Salgado (Vancouver Whitecaps; El Paso, Texas)

(January 2, 2012) - The Sounders FC have gotten in the habit of adding players for their Academy to the list of contributors to the US National Teams youth pools.

On Monday, another name was added to the list as Sean Okoli received his second call to play with the U-20 National Team in their January training camp that runs from January 2-9 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Also taking part in January camps is Sean Okoli, a Sounders Academy product who will play for the U-20 National Team.

Okoli was solid in his Wake Forest freshman campaign, earning 2011 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) All-Freshmen Men’s Soccer Team scoring four goals to go with three assists to help the Demon Deacons to an 8-8-5 record, finishing fifth. Their season ended with a 2-0 loss to James Madison in the NCAA Tournament.

(December 10, 2010) - Sounders FC U18 forward Sean Okoli has had a tremendous start to the Academy season. Now he is going to represent the US in a tournament in Israel.

 Sean Okoli’s passport is gathering a lot of stamps of late.

The Sounders FC U18 forward has been to Portugal and Argentina in the past year with the US U18 National Team and this week he will add another to the list when he goes with them to Israel to face Israel, France and Germany.

Okoli learned of his most recent call-up after taking part in a November training camp in Carson, Calif.  He returned to Federal Way after the camp ended and was on his way to train with the Sounders FC U18s when he got a text from US Soccer.

It was all he could do to contain the ear-to-ear grin across his face during that training session.  But still, he kept the invitation to himself until he got home that night to tell his parents.

“The only way I’m going to be successful is if I work my butt off in training, so I was working hard, but I’m sure I had a smile on my face the whole time,” said Okoli, a 17-year-old senior at Todd Beamer High School in Federal Way.

Head Coach Dick McCormick agreed, “We are very proud of Sean and we wish him the best of luck on his trip to Israel.  He has been working very hard in training and games for the Academy.”

The games will give Okoli another opportunity to train and compete with top-caliber players in his age group.  With the Sounders FC Academy, he is playing with several other players with international experience and he has also trained with the Sounders FC first team on a few occasions, picking up tips along the way from Brad Evans, Fredy Montero and Mike Fucito in particular.  He also learned some lessons playing against defender Patrick Ianni, one of the tougher defenders in MLS.

“He was in with the U20s which is my goal, so I was just trying to beat him and get ready for the next level,” Okoli said of Ianni.  “When they ask you to come in with the first team, you can’t even think about it.  You have to say yes.  And when you’re there you have to make the most of the opportunity and try and learn everything you can when you’re there.  It feels like everything you’re working for – your dream – is right there.”

With the Sounders Academy, Okoli suffered his first loss of the season on Monday, but used the 1-0 loss as motivation in a 4-2 victory to close the USSDA Winter Showcase on Tuesday.  All told, Okoli has seven goals and three assists to help the U18s to an 8-1-4 record.

With his experience with the US squad and his output on the field, Okoli has been looked to as a leader by his Seattle teammates.

“Ever since I started training with the U18 camp last year I’ve improved in my game and I’ve gained confidence and I know my teammates realize that.  They look to me as a leader and I love having that role,” he said.  “I love how much we support each other.  I love playing with the Sounders.  We have the best players from the state.  We should be a really good team.”

With the expansion of the MLS rosters in 2011 and the inclusion of the Reserve League, the opportunities are growing for players like Okoli – top flight youth players who now have both professional and collegiate options in the United States.

“It’s mindblowing.  My family and I pray every day and we really appreciate that everything is happening,” he said.  “I know that I’m lucky.  I’m not taking anything for granted.”

Added Director of Youth Development Darren Sawatzky, “The future is very exciting for these young players in Major League Soccer. There are so many great opportunities and we are glad Sean is working hard to realize his dream.”

The Sounders FC Academy is currently on a winter break but will return to the field January 16.

The U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team will come together for a training camp from April 25-May 2 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Head coach Mike Matkovich has named 24 players who will train twice daily and compete against local club teams during the week. The team will also attend the Los Angeles Galaxy match against the Philadelphia Union on May 1.

Matkovich’s roster includes 17 players currently playing in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy plus another player, Kyle Emerson, who has moved on from Texas SC DTH to Wake Forest. The remaining five players – Dustin Corea, Andrew Craven, Luis Gil, Stefan Jerome and Eriq Zavaleta – were all part of the U.S. Soccer U-17 Men’s National Team Residency Program in 2009. Gil, who signed with Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer before the 2010 season, is the lone professional player on the roster.

Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Keith Cardona (NY Red Bulls Academy; Glen Rock N.J.), Jonathan Kempin (Kansas City Wizards; Leawood, Kans.) 

DEFENDERS (8): Michael Ambrose (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Anthony Carerras (BW Gottschee; Valley Stream, N.Y.), Marquez Fernandez (Baltimore Bays Chelsea; Baltimore, Md.), Andrew Jean-Baptiste (Albertson SC; Brentwood, N.Y.), Jordan McCrary (Concorde Fire; Marietta, Ga.), Boyd Okwuonu (FC Dallas Juniors; Edmund, Okla.), Scott Thomsen (PDA; Brick, N.J.), Eriq Zavaleta (FC Pride; Westfield, Ind.)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Dustin Corea (Unattached; Portland, Ore.), Andrew Craven (First Coast Kickers; St. Simons Island, Ga.), Sean Davis (NY Red Bulls Academy; Holmdel, N.J.), Kyle Emerson (Wake Forest; Cypress, Texas), Daniel Garcia (FC Dallas Juniors; Dallas, Texas), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Miguel Lopez (Lonestar Aztex Academy; Alton, Texas), Daniel Metzger (PDA; Holmdel, N.J.), Emilio Orozco (Real SoCal; Oxnard, Calif.), Nick Palodichuk (Washington Premier FC; Battleground, Wash.)

FORWARDS (4): Villyan Bijev (Cal Odyssey; Fresno, Calif.), Victor Chavez (Real So Cal; Fontana, Calif.), Stefan Jerome (West Pines United FC; Davie, Fla.), Sean Okoli (Washington Premier FC; Federal Way, Wash.)

(November 15, 2010) - Seattle Sounders FC Academy USSDA Sean Okoli has been selected by U.S. U-18 MNT head coach Mike Matkovichto’s 36-player roster for a training camp at The Home Depot Center from Nov. 20-28. The training camp will include friendly games against local men’s teams, including Ventura County Fusion, FC Hasental, Hollywood United and Orange County Blue Star. Sean your teammates, coaches and WPFC family are very proud of your accomplishment, your hard work is paying off!

The roster includes 31 players who are currently part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, plus a former Academy player in Victor Pineda who signed a Homegrown Player contract with the Chicago Fire earlier this year. Midfielder Caleb Stanko played up last season with the U-17/18 Vardar squad that captured the 2009-10 championship. 

Five players – Vlad Lekarev (Internationals), Miguel Lopez (Classics Elite), Daniel Metzger (New York Red Bulls), Jalen Robinson (D.C. United) and Will Trapp (Crew Soccer Academy) – earned U-15/16 Development Academy Starting XI honors last season. 

Real Salt Lake’s Luis Gil joins Pineda as the only professional players on Matkovich’s roster. Including that pair, 14 players return from the team’s July trip to South America, where they lost to Bolivia and tied Chile. 

This will be the final training camp before Matkovich selects his team to travel to Tel Aviv, Israel, in December. 

Roster By Position: 
GOALKEEPERS (3): Andrew Harris (Baltimore Bays Chelsea; Baltimore, Md.), Tyler Miller (Pittsgrove Premier; Woodbury, N.J.), Andrew Wolverton (Concorde Fire; Snellville, Ga.)

DEFENDERS (12): Michael Ambrose (FC Dallas Academy; Frisco, Texas), Jonathan Campbell (North Carolina Fusion; Greensboro, N.C.), Alec Cochran (St. Louis Scott Gallagher MO; St. Louis, Mo.), Bryan Gallego (NY Red Bulls Academy; Kinnelon, N.J.), Malcolm Harris (Baltimore Bays Chelsea; Damascus, Md.), Vlad Lekarev (Internationals; Strongsville, Ohio.), Jordan McCrary (Concorde Fire; Marietta, Ga.), Juan Pablo Ocegueda (UANL Tigres; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (FC Dallas Academy; Edmund, Okla.), Grant Silvester (CDA; Sacramento, Calif.), Verneri Valimaa (Weston FC; Coral Springs, Fla.), Walker Zimmerman (GSA Phoenix; Lawrenceville, Ga.)

MIDFIELDERS (15): Amadou Dia (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake; Garden Grove, Calif.), Connor Hallisey (CDA; Granite Bay, Calif.), Brian James (Weston FC; Sunrise, Fla.), Miguel Lopez (Classics Elite; Alton, Texas), Daniel Metzger (NY Red Bulls Academy; Holmdel, N.J.), Seth Moses (Baltimore Bays Chelsea; Essex, Md.), Sean Okoli (Seattle Sounders Academy; Federal Way, Wash.), Mike Paye (CASL; Raleigh, N.C.), Victor Pineda (Chicago Fire; Bolingbrook, Ill.), Jalen Robinson (DC United Academy; Cantonsville, Md.), Marcus Salandy-Defour (DC United Academy; Kensington, Md.), Caleb Stanko (Vardar; Holly, Mich.), Will Trapp (Columbus Crew Academy; Gahanna, Ohio), Cooper Vandermaas-Peeler (CASL Chelsea; Cary, N.C.)

FORWARDS (6): Robbie Kristo (St. Louis Scott Gallagher MO; St. Louis, Mo.), Uvaldo Luna Martinez (UANL Tigres; Houston, Texas ), Luis Rendon (FC Richmond Magic; Chesterfield, Va.), Khiry Shelton (Lonestar SC Academy; Leander, Texas); Xavi Silva (Weston FC; Boca Raton, Fla.), Jonathon Top (FC Dallas Academy; Fort Worth, Texas)


WPFC is built upon the combined traditions of F.C. Royals and F.C. United, which share a rich history of, "creating champions on the field and in life". We take great pride in our Washington Premier F.C. student-athletes who come from diverse backgrounds and enjoy a wide variety of expertise in soccer. Please check out our National Team section dedicated to those WPFC players who have reached the elite ranks of the U.S. National Team.