TACOMA, Wash. – Sounders U-23 veterans, and Tacoma Stars standouts, Derek Johnson and Joey Gjertsen will return to the pitch this summer for the Sounders U-23. The two Tacoma products will bring offensive fire power, and savvy veteran experience.
Last summer for the Sounders U-23 Johnson appeared in 11 games adding one goal in 362 minutes. Then this past winter for the MASL/WISL Tacoma Stars, the former PLU phenom led all scorers notching nine goals in eight games as the Stars went on to win the WISL league and finish the MASL league for the final six games.
“We will look for Derek to continue his growth from last year in the PDL, his opportunity in Sweden, and with the Tacoma Stars,” said Darren Sawatzky, head coach of the Sounders U-23. “He is a local product that works very hard to move up the ladder. This summer should be a good one for him.”
While Johnson’s career is seemingly just taking off, Gjertsen on the other hand will bring his boat-load of professional experience and accolades to the young Sounders U-23 side. Before joining the Sounders U-23 and Tacoma Stars in 2014, Gjertsen spent eight seasons playing in the professional ranks including a 2-year stay with the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS.
“Joey presents a seasoned player with great experience. When you are working to develop professional players, which is what we work to do here, you need players that have been where these players want to go. These young college players learn day in and day out from a quality veteran like Joey, so we are happy he is ready to go this summer.” Sawatzky said.
The Sounders U-23 season kicks off on Sunday, May 24th at Sunset Stadium in Sumner, Wash. The Sounders U-23 will host the Calgary Foothills FC, the newest members of the always competitive Northwest Division. For more information about flex tickets, visit SoundersU23.com.
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