SEATTLE, WASH. – Sounders FC today announced that it has signed midfielder Shandon Hopeau, who joins the First Team following five years with the Academy and Tacoma Defiance, the club’s USL side. Following the signing of Josh Atencio and Ethan Dobbelaere earlier this month, Hopeau becomes the 16th Homegrown Player signing in club history.
“We are pleased to announce Shandon as the latest Homegrown signing to the First Team,” said General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “He’s shown steady development in his time with the organization and I’m looking forward to seeing him at the MLS level.”
Hopeau is coming off a 2019 USL season in which he recorded career-highs in goals (5) assists (4) and starts (25). The Kapolei, Hawaii native made his MLS debut on September 7 of last season at Colorado, logging 32 minutes as a substitute after agreeing to a Short-Term Agreement after Sounders FC qualified for Extreme Hardship (when a club has less than 14 outfield players or has fewer than two goalkeepers available). He played a full 90 minutes in both of Tacoma’s matches in 2020 prior to the suspension of play, leading the club with five shots and three shots on goal.
“Shandon has performed well in his time with the club and I’m looking forward to officially bringing him into the squad,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “We have a talented crop of young players on our team, and I’m excited to see the energy they bring when we return to play in Orlando.”
Hopeau joined the Sounders FC Academy in 2016 after playing for his local club, Hawaii Rush. He was a key attacking piece of the U-17/18 squad that finished third in the USSDA National Playoffs. After making a pair of USL appearances in 2016, he signed a professional contract in March of 2017 with Tacoma Defiance, where he scored three goals in 45 appearances in 2017-2018.
“Shandon is a great example of the club’s use of our greater Homegrown territory, which includes his home state of Hawaii,” said Vice President of Soccer & Sporting Director Chris Henderson. “He’s been a class member of our organization since he arrived, and I’m excited for him to get this chance at the next level.”
Hopeau marks the 16th Sounders FC Homegrown Player signing in club history. U.S. National Team defender DeAndre Yedlin was the club’s first Homegrown Player in 2012, making two MLS All-Star appearances before being sold to Tottenham Hotspur in England’s Premier League. The club then signed midfielder Aaron Kovar and forward Sean Okoli in 2013, before adding forwards Victor Mansaray and Darwin Jones in 2014. In 2016, the Rave Green signed University of Denver midfielder Jordan Schweitzer and 2016 MLS Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris to Homegrown deals, then added forward Seyi Adekoya from UCLA and Henry Wingo from Washington to the roster in 2017. Midfielder Handwalla Bwana became the 10th Academy product to sign with the First Team prior the 2018 season, while goalkeeper Trey Muse, midfielder Danny Leyva and forward Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez all signed in 2019. Earlier this month, the club inked midfielders Josh Atencio and Ethan Dobbelaere to First Team deals.
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