With the announcement that Justin Dhillon signed with Seattle Sounders FC today he becomes the third Tacoma Defiance player on that path in 2019. Danny Leyva and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez started their seasons with Tacoma before signing with the MLS club. Coach Chris Little is proud of those three for advancing their careers.
“I think as a club we’re showing that there is a precedent and a pathway. When each one of these kids sign – Leyva, ‘Fonz, and now Justin – it shows that there is precedent. It shows that we believe in young players. If they perform and are doing well for us at the USL level, we have a First Team staff that are going to pay attention to that. They’ll notice it. That’s massive for our program and what we do. It’s very exciting for Justin.”
Dhillon earned the call by scoring 6 goals in seven games, while setting a record for the fastest goal in USL Championship history. The past six weeks are a large step forward in Justin’s career. His previous high was six goals scored. In an entire season.
“Ultimately he’s earned that opportunity. He’s scored six goals. He’s earned this opportunity.”
Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer will only have two forwards on the roster for Saturday night’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps. Both of them started the year with Defiance.
Justin Dhillon, 24, will offer Schmetzer hold up play.
“They’re different players. Justin is a little bit older. He’s a little bit more experienced, bigger body. Justin has the ability to hold the ball up and he has soft feet for a big guy. He can also play off the shoulder and find those spaces in behind centerbacks.”
Ocampo-Chavez, 17, can slash from open spaces.
“Alfonso is a wiry striker. He’s deceptively quick. His first touch can create space for himself. He comes alive in the box. They have similar characteristics inside the 18. Both are good finishers. They are different outside the box. Justin is more comfortable playing with his back to goal where ‘Fonz is looking to drift into space and separate himself from defenders.”
With Defiance off this weekend, coaches and players will be able to particularly focus on their former teammates wearing the Rave Green. Their friends, and teammates, are taking the next step forward in their careers.
“I’m sure the players are really happy and excited for the guys. For us, we’re excited for any kid to get an opportunity. Anytime our young guys get on the field with the First Team we hope they do well; that they are prepared. We are very happy and proud of him.”
Next home match is our Pride match on July 24 versus Las Vegas Lights FC (7:00 p.m. / Party Deck tickets available)