Monday, May 16, 2011

Nick Palodichuk plays for Portland Timbers?!

Nick Palodichuk, a member of the Seattle Sounders youth academy, contributed one assist (and one yellow card) in the Portland Timbers U23 6-0 win over Washington Crossfire in PDL action on Sunday.
Palodichuk has not played with the Sounders U18 team since December due to his early enrollment at Duke University for the spring semester that started in January.
His participation in the spring season for the Blue Devils men's soccer team made the Sounders Academy player ineligible for Development Academy play for the rest of the season. Development Academy rules prevent college players from playing in the league, a rule that was recently in the news when Pateadores were caught using two players who had already played at a junior college in California.
Palodichuk’s attachment to the Sounders organization is still under question as the player left the club before the one-year period was up required for home grown status. Sounders Academy Technical Director Darren Sawatzky was optimistic that Palodichuk would qualify for the status because the same coaching staff was with him when he was part of the Washington Premier Academy. As of March, MLS has yet to inform Seattle if Palodichuk would be eligible for a Home Grown contract.
The former U.S. U17 midfielder had his hand forced for where to play during the summer though, as the Sounders do not have a PDL franchise but their rivals to the south do. The Portland Timbers U23 team has been successful in recent years with the 2010 PDL National Championship to show for it. The squad is led by University of Washington forward Brent Richards who was one of the top scorers in the nation last year and opened his 2011 account with a hat trick against Crossfire. Playing for a PDL franchise attached to an MLS club has no effect on the player’s future draft eligibility.
Richards and Palodichuk return to their stomping grounds in Seattle this weekend to square off against local PDL franchise Kitsap Pumas.