Friday, September 24, 2021
In April, a long-awaited dream became a reality for B2007 ECNL player Erik Collins. He transitioned from Spokane Sounder to Seattle Sounder, joining the club’s acclaimed academy on the west side after years of hard work.
Collins appeared on the radar for the Sounders Development Program three years ago and began training with the SDP one to two times a week, a full family commitment as they drove to Starfire for two-hour sessions and back home each time to miss as little school and work as possible.
“Long days for sure, but Erik seemed to LOVE it!,” said his mother Dr. Marnie Collins.
After a few months he was invited to join a Sounders Academy team on a trip to play at the Gyeongju International Youth Tournament in South Korea in August of 2019, a tremendous experience [Full Story +].
After a few more months the weekly state-wide trips came to a halt as the pandemic shut down all training… so it would seem. Instead, the journey became a more personal one as the coach continued to give the players drills to do and asked them to record and send back to prove the work was being done. Collins never missed a day of drill training, and in the spring of 2021 he received an email asking him to tryout for the Sounders Academy. A weeklong tryout and the rest is history.
“When Erik received the email asking him to sign with the club, he had no hesitation whatsoever. He knew this is what he needed to do to get better,” his mother said.
“For Mom and Dad, the decision was a little more difficult. He is our youngest of four children and our last one living at home. Initially, we were not sure that we were willing to let our 14 year old move across the state, do high school online, not to mention handle all the other logistics that are involved in the move. Thankfully, he is able to live with my parents, which allows us to see him most weekends. We are also very fortunate to be able to travel to most of his away games which take place in Colorado, Oregon, California, Vancouver (BC) and Utah.
Collins continues to work extremely hard to be a better player and teammate, and seems to be performing well in training and in games. He has earned the starting attacking midfielder role within the squad and has scored three goals and has two assists through the first two games of the MLS NEXT league.
“I was super excited!,” Collins said when he first learned of the opportunity. “I’ve always wanted to play at the highest level of soccer as possible and I knew this was my chance to do that. The guys on this team are all so good and I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to play with them.”
It is an opportunity that came from a lot of hard work and joy.
“I enjoyed every coach I had, all my teammates, and the fun tournaments when playing for the Spokane Sounders. Because I had such great coaches – Mike Pellicio and Jesse Retan – while playing for the Spokane Sounders, I was able to develop not only skills, but also confidence and a better vision of the entire game.”
Though big moves are often difficult, the family element has smoothed that transition to some degree for Collins, who now has a second home.
“I am missing my parents, my dog, and my best friend Eli (Spokane Sounders teammate). I get to see my parents a lot and my Nana is a lot like my mom so I feel at home.”
But when he is not at his second home, it is all work.
“The Seattle Sounders Academy has made me grow up a lot! We need to show a lot of maturity, responsibility and independence without the help of our parents. I have become a much smarter player. I’m expected to play at a much higher intensity, trust my teammates and always play with confidence. I like it and I feel that I’m improving every day.”
Improve Every Day!