Goooaaaal!

Foster grad Dylan Teves continues business on the pitch with Seattle Sounders FC

You could chart the career of Husky men’s soccer star Dylan Teves (BA 2021) as a jagged massif of ever ascending peaks. All-American. Academic All-American. Finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy. First player to score consecutive hat tricks in the NCAA tournament. First University of Washington soccer team to vie for a national championship. To name just a few.

Amid these incredible highs, though, Teves maintains that his favorite moment of all was something more personal than profound.

Namely, his first time back to in-person training with the team after interminable months working out alone and meeting on Zoom. “Getting back that connection with your coaches and teammates—your family,” he says, “is irreplaceable.”

Dylan Teves and his Husky teammates celebrate in the NCAA tourney. Photo by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

No matter how bright his own star grows, Teves is a team guy.

In December, after wrapping his Husky soccer career and graduating early from the Foster School of Business, he leveled up to a new team: Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer.

Dreaming bigger

In 2015, Teves and his family uprooted their lives in Kailua, Hawaii, so he could train with the Sounders Academy.

“Coming out of Hawaii, I didn’t really think about professional soccer. My aspirations weren’t that high,” he says. “But moving to Seattle and Sounders Academy… that’s when I started to dream big.”

Teves moved from Hawaii at 15 to train with Sounders Academy.

He had good reason. While attending Liberty High School in Renton, Teves excelled on the academy’s U-15 and U-16 teams before joining the U-19 squad and eventually making a dozen appearances for Tacoma Defiance (the Sounders FC second team which plays in the professional USL Championship league). He even saw some pre-season action with the Sounders first team.

After four seasons in the Sounders Academy, he had an important choice to make: go pro or go to college.

Fostering leadership

“It was a really tough decision,” Teves says. “I saw all of these amazing (professional) players like Christian Roldan and Henry Wingo and Alex Roldan coming out of college who were making their way to a degree as well. I value education really highly, too. And when you see how good the UW is at both athletics and academics—the culture around it is impossible to beat.”

Teves made a quick impact on Husky Soccer. Academically, he gravitated toward business and finance, in particular.

Hanging loose at the UW. Photo by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures.

His introductory Foster School courses in economics, accounting and real estate finance sparked his interest and served as a wakeup call. He’d need to up his game if he wanted to excel in the classroom as well as on the pitch. “Seeing how difficult it is to get a good grade at Foster, especially when every single student is extremely intelligent,” he says, “I realized how much more effort I needed to put in.”

He summoned that effort, and also participated in the Foster Leadership Academy, a new program offered in partnership with Husky Athletics to develop authentic leadership skills.

“I never really saw myself as a leader,” Teves says. “But the program helped prepare me for a larger role on the Husky team.”

Campaign for the ages

It paid off in the fall of 2021, when Teves became a central figure in the greatest season in Washington soccer history.

Powered by his 12 goals, eight assists and quiet leadership, the Huskies were a fixture atop the national soccer rankings for much of the regular season before storming through the NCAA tournament. His unprecedented back-to-back hat tricks led the team into the College Cup national title match in December, where they ultimately fell to Clemson.

For what was arguably the greatest individual performance in UW history, Teves received a trophy case of honors. He was named first-team All-Pac-12 and consensus first-team All-America by both United Soccer Coaches and College Soccer News. He was listed on the Best XI Team and #2 Player in the Country by TopDrawerSoccer. And he was UW’s first finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded to the nation’s top player.

During his historic senior season, Teves continued to excel in the classroom, too, somehow cramming four finance courses into fall quarter to graduate early—cum laude. He was named Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year, first-team Academic All-America by COSIDA and National Scholar Player of the Year by United Soccer Coaches.

True to form, Teves would rather talk about the team’s extraordinary achievements.

“I boil it down to chemistry and joy,” he says. “Every single person felt part of the Husky family. Especially on our team. And that’s huge because every time you are completely exhausted and have to give that extra in the last minutes of the game—and we had a lot of overtime games—you know that the person next to you is doing everything they can. And it makes you want to do the same. That kind of motivation is what pushed us through, on and off the field.”

Level up

This powerhouse Husky soccer collective elevated five student-athletes to this year’s MLS draft. The Sounders acted early to secure Teves’ services, offering him the second Homegrown Contract in club history just a few weeks after contesting the NCAA final.

More of a live-in-the-moment person than a dreamer, the call came almost as a shock. “It all happened extremely fast,” Teves says. “It’s been a whirlwind of emotions, especially coming straight off the season we just had.”

“Dylan has done so much for Husky Soccer, and I am excited to now see him take the next step in his career,” UW men’s soccer coach Jamie Clark told the Seattle Times. “He has the mindset and ability to make it at the next level, and I am so happy the Sounders have decided to invest in his future. His legend will remain at UW, but now to write new chapters as a professional.”

a man holding a ball
Teves levels up with Sounders FC. Photo by Mike Fiechtner.

“We’ve enjoyed following Dylan’s career going back to his days with the Academy and then during his prolific career at the UW,” said Sounders FC head coach Brian Schmetzer. “He’s earned this opportunity at the MLS level, and I look forward to bringing him into camp.”

Wearing number 99 for the Rave Green (or whatever colors the Sounders are in), Teves sees versatility as his greatest asset in the professional ranks. Mercurial, creative and poised on the ball, he has played all over the midfield—holding, attacking, box-to-box—as well as up top (as a striker) and on the wing.

two men in sports uniforms
Photo by Mike Fiechtner.

“As long as I’m playing, I’m happy,” Teves says. “Wherever the coaches need me, wherever the team needs me, wherever I can make the biggest impact is where I see my position.”

Enjoying the ride

Joining the Sounders, he says, is both the culmination of his wildest aspirations and the next in a lifetime of escalating challenges. But he already feels at home in an organization that reminds him of Husky Athletics.

“It’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time,” he reports. “But the excitement always overrides the nerve-wracking side of things.”

a group of men in sports uniforms
The Sounders feels like home to Teves. Photo by Sounders Digital Media.

Teves brings to the next level his embrace of SMART goal setting—of specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based objectives—that he learned from Foster, the Leadership Academy and Husky Athletics.

He has his work cut out to win playing time with a club that has forged an unrivaled tradition in MLS and is loaded with international talent.

But he’s also determined to enjoy the journey, too. “I focus on the process, not necessarily the outcomes,” he says.

“At every level, you have to prove yourself. Going through the academy, going through the University of Washington, and now the biggest jump to a professional team. There’s a lot of excitement and a lot of hard work ahead in these next weeks and months and years.”

UW Soccer photos by Scott Eklund/Red Box Pictures. Additional photography courtesy of Seattle Sounders FC.

Ed Kromer Managing Editor Foster School

Ed Kromer is the managing editor of Foster Business magazine. Over the past two decades, he has served as the school’s senior storyteller, writing about a wide array people, programs, insights and innovations that power the Foster School community.