Ballard High graduate signs with Sounders FC

How’s this for a “local boy makes good” story? Ballard High School graduate and UW soccer standout Handwalla Bwana has signed a “Homegrown Player” contract with the Seattle Sounders.

“We’re excited to add Handwalla to our squad, giving us another dynamic young prospect from our Academy,” said Sounders FC GM & President Garth Lagerwey in a press release. “We would like to thank everyone in his development pathway who helped get him this far.”

Originally from Mombasa, Kenya, Bwana attended Ballard High School and played for Sounders FC Academy and Seattle United. Then at the UW, he recorded 12 goals and 13 assists over two seasons, earning a two-time All-Pac-12 selection and the 2016 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.

The signing of Bwana, a midfielder, marks the 10th Sounders Homegrown Player signing in club history. He’s just 18 years old.

Woodland Park Zoo residents support Seattle Sounders

Even the animals at Woodland Park Zoo (601 N 59th St) are all geared up to support the Seattle Sounders in the final leg of the Western Conference semifinals against Dallas FC this evening.

Grizzlies, otters, and penguins have been kicking, tapping and pecking at mini-soccer balls all week in preparation for the game! It’s also “Scarves Up” for a pair of gorillas that have been saluting our home team.

Check out the fantastic photos and video below:

_MG_5761 sml_500

Nina

Nina

Nina

Go Sounders!

Photo courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo. Photo credit – Ryan Hawk.

Fans line up to meet Sounders FC star Kasey Keller

Fans lined up at the QFC on 24th Ave NW on Thursday afternoon to meet Seattle Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

The 40-year-old soccer star, who was recently named to the MLS All-Star Team, showed up to a line of about 60 people waiting to meet him and get his autograph, MyBallard reader Glenn tells us.

Glenn shot these photos and says, “Keller was cheerful and chatty, and had a good time with fans, especially the kids. A fine representative for the team.”

BHS Soccer players inspired by a pro

The Ballard High School soccer team got a pep talk at Wednesday’s practice from one of the Seattle Sounders.

Taylor Graham, a defender for Seattle’s MLS team, talked to the boys soccer team about the sport, nutrition and education. Graham encouraged the kids to be clean with their technique and to learn to handle the ball with their left foot (or right foot for those lefties), which are skills that most professional athletes have mastered.

Graham is a 29-year-old Stanford grad who was out most of last season after breaking his foot three times. He was a walk-on in college and red-shirted his freshman year. By his senior year he was named All Pac-10 first team and earned a partial scholarship. When asked what’s next for him he said he didn’t know, but he was comforted knowing he already had an education.

Graham’s visit is part of the Symetra Active Bodies Active Minds program. He will be visiting Whitman Middle School on Friday at 1 p.m.