NEWS
01/08/2016 17:05 EST | Updated 01/08/2017 00:12 EST

Canadian midfielder Jordan Schweitzer signs with Seattle Sounders

The Canadian content in next week's MLS SuperDraft has dropped by one with University of Denver midfielder Jordan Schweitzer signing a homegrown contract with the Seattle Sounders.

While he was born in Dallas and grew up in Everett, Wash., the 21-year-old Schweitzer holds a Canadian passport thanks to his parents, who are both from Edmonton.

"All my family's either in Edmonton or Calgary," he said. "My grandmother actually lives in Kelowna."

His parents met at the University of Alberta and moved to Dallas where his mother got a nursing job. His father finished up his graduate studies at TCU.

The family eventually moved to Washington state where his father, who played tight end at the University of Alberta, works as a computer engineer for Microsoft.

Schweitzer joined the Sounders academy as a junior in high school. He played for the Sounders' under-23 team the last three years.

That opened the door to the homegrown contract. Under MLS rules, a club can sign a player to his first pro contract without going through the draft if he has been a member of a club's youth academy for at least one year and has met the necessary training and other requirements.

The six-foot 165-pounder started 70 of his 73 games in Denver, leaving as co-captain and a three-time member of the All-Summit League first team. 

A central midfielder, Schweitzer shielded the back four at Denver. He sees himself as a ball-winner and someone who can "connect the dots" in midfield.

"I'm someone who takes pride in all the little things," he said in an interview prior to signing with Seattle. "Making sure I'm always in a good position, making sure everyone around me is in position."

The Pioneers went undefeated during the 2015 regular season, winning the Summit League title before losing 1-0 to SMU after extra time in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

"Sad to see it end but looking forward to what the future holds," he said in an interview prior to signing.

Seattle announced Schweitzer's contract Thursday evening.

"Jordan is a player we've been following since his days in the academy and throughout his career at the University of Denver," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said in a statement. "He is a central midfielder who understands the importance to the team effort through his distribution, positional play and passing."

A Liverpool fan, Schweitzer grew up watching Steven Gerrard. He follows the Oilers in hockey.

Canadians currently at the MLS Combine in Florida are Vancouver goalkeeper Callum Irving of the University of Kentucky, Victoria midfielder-forward Josh Heard from the University of Washington, and Mississauga, Ont., midfielder Ryan James of Bowling Green.

Toronto midfielder Richie Laryea is also there, having signed a Generation Adidas contract with the league. The sophomore from the University of Akron is projected to be the highest-drafted Canadian at next Thursday's draft in Baltimore. 

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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

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