Clement Simonin (left) in action at North Carolina State, Austin Dunker (right) for Elon University
TACOMA, Wash. – The Sounders U-23 have signed two defenders from North Carolina-based Universities for the 2014 Premier Development League season. Clement Simonin, 22, is a French center back who anchored North Carolina State through the grueling Atlantic Coast Conference. Austin Dunker, 21, is an outside back from one of the stingiest defenses in college soccer, Elon University.
Clement Simonin grew up playing for his home-town club, FC Lorient, in France. At 20 years of age, he changed paths to pursue an education but continued to play soccer at Division II Lander University. Following two All-American years, he transferred to North Carolina State.
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Regarding his opportunity with the Sounders U-23, Simonin said, “Playing for the Sounders U23 will be a really good occasion to come back in a professional club and show what I'm able to bring to a new team with a lot of exposure on the professional level. I'm conscious that having a great summer here on and off the field will bring me new opportunities. This is mainly why I thought the club could be a great fit for me and my expectations.”
Sounders U-23 Head Coach, Darren Sawatzky, said, “The Sounders U23 team is a proving ground for future professional players. Clement comes with a good pedigree and we look forward to having him at the back to lead our group.”
Simonin scored four goals and added three assists, despite playing center back last year for NC State, who narrowly missed out on an NCAA Tournament bid despite beating #9 North Carolina in their final regular season match.
Austin Dunker is a three-year starter at Elon University. With six shutouts on the season, and three versus ranked opponents, the left back’s Elon University Phoenix made it to the 2nd Round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to UCLA.
Dunker said what he looks forward to most about playing for the Sounders U-23 this summer is, “Being in a competitive environment and being pushed every day, as well as experiencing the professionalism the Sounders are known for.”
Dunker led the Phoenix with 2,192 minutes from 23 starts last season. He contributed on the offensive end with four assists.
Darren Sawatzky said, “Austin Dunker represents the prototypical attacking left back. He will play a good role in our attack this summer.”
Both defenders are expected to join the team in early May, in time for the PDL season kick off on May 16.
Season Tickets for the 2014 Sounders U-23 season are on sale on SoundersU23.com for only $60. The 2014 Season Ticket Flex Pack eliminates the risk of missing games. Instead of one ticket specifically associated with each match, with the Sounders U-23 Flex Pack, fans will receive eight tickets, and each of those tickets will be accepted at any match during the 2014 season. It's the ultimate deal in flexibility.