By Dave Clark

Before DeAndre Yedlin was a USMNT capped player and an MLS All-Star; before he was tearing things up at Akron and with the U23s he was the right back for the Academy U-18 squad in its first year.

Before Sean Okoli earned honors at Wake Forrest he was a forward and midfielder with that same U-18 squad.

Before Aaron Kovar was the Pac-12 Freshman of the year at Stanford he was the left mid for the U-18s.

There are more Kovars, Okolis and Yedlins playing right now. You can watch them for basically free a couple times a month. They return to the friendly confines of Starfire Saturday at 1:30 PM after a winter of rest and road trips. The men and women of ECS will gather and Sounder at Heart readers will swarm.

Quite frankly it is going to be the largest non-family crowd for the Seattle Sounders Youth Academy yet. The MLS regular season starts in just two weeks. Then the Academy schedule often overlaps with First Team action. This is the perfect time to support Sounders.

Saturday you get to watch the youth that will become Sounders men. They are the future. Already a dozen know the colleges they will attend. Most picked those based on a balance of academics and a path to wear the Green, Blue and Shale. Several of them already look like future professionals, some are children of NASL players, others are talented Washingtonians that are the first athletes in their families and a few are from distant lands, but they all call Seattle and the Sound home.

You can see them before. You can see McCormick, Olsen, Christensen, Crook, Wingo, Adekoya, Chaffin, Crichlow, DeGroot, Frago, Gallinger, Prado-Huerta, Reinikka, Rojas and many others. You will know their names, before they become legends they are the Sounders Academy.