Former U.S. Under-20 national team defender Sam Rogers recently spent three weeks on a trial with Belgian powerhouse Standard Liege, but the Seattle Sounders academy product won’t be joining the wave of young Americans moving to Europe just yet.
Rogers’ trial with Liege failed to generate a transfer offer after initial discussions between the clubs set a price that the Belgian club ultimately found too high, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told SBI.
The 20-year-old central defender is currently under contract with the Sounders’ USL affiliate, Sounders 2, with a deal that runs through the 2020 season. Seattle’s valuation of Rogers ultimately dissuaded Standard Liege from negotiating for a transfer despite the club’s interest in signing Rogers.
A member of the U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team squad that won the Concacaf Championship last November, Rogers missed out on a chance to play in the Under-20 World Cup due to an injury, but remains a highly-regarded prospect in the U.S. youth national team setup. Most recently, Rogers took part in a U.S. Under-23 national team camp with head coach Jason Kreis back in June.
Rogers is part of a strong generation of Sounders academy products coming through the ranks, with Seattle having signed midfielder Daniel Leyva and goalkeeper Trey Muse to homegrown player deals. The Sounders have yet to make Rogers a formal offer for an MLS homegrown contract, but that step appears to be inevitable as the Sounders head towards 2020.
“I think that’s an on-going discussion,” Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey told SBI. “We started the year with 34-year-old Chad Marshall, 30-year-old Kim Kee-Hee and 32-year-old Roman Torres. It’s obvious to anyone that we needed to have younger center backs in our system. That’s still the case. Chad’s obviously retired, Roman’s out of contract at the end of the year. Kim’s out of contract at the end of the year. I would say there’s a lot of opportunity for centerbacks in our system.”
The Sounders did succeed in adding some youth to its central defender pool with the addition of 24-year-old Ecuadorian centerback Xavier Arreaga, but Rogers is considered a prospect with the potential to develop into a high-end starter. A 6-foot-4 defender with the valuable combination of size and sharp passing ability, Rogers is a leading candidate for a homegrown player contract. That is unless he decides to play out his current contract with Sounders 2 and tests the international market in 2021, when he would be 22 and available on a free transfer.
If Rogers were to leave the Sounders organization at the end of his current contract, the Sounders would still be able to secure training compensation from whichever club he ultimately signed with, this after Major League Soccer made the official decision earlier in 2019 to begin pursuing training compensation for players developed in its academies.