The Philadelphia Union said nothing of his release, but that didn't stop him from heading out to Seattle to try to continue his fledgling professional career.
Just as quickly as he was hyped up by the team staff, Stephen Okai was gone from the Philadelphia.
The 2013 Major League Soccer SuperDraft second rounder was cut by the Union this past weekend in Florida without any public notice. Okai departed the team at the same time as Alex Mendoza and Damani Richards, but unlike the other two he had not yet signed a contract.
Okai was highly regarded by head coach John Hackworth after the SuperDraft. Hackworth went so far as to say that Okai was one of the most professionally ready players in the entire draft.
As for Okai, he was one of the, if not the, best passers in the entire draft. Physically and mentally, Stephen is probably one of the most ready players to join an MLS club and contribute right away.
The former Reading United AC standout, and NAIA Player of the Year, entered the Seattle Sounders' traning camp yesterday on trial. Head coach Sigi Schmid hoped to get a better read on Okai by watching him play against MLS level competition, something that the midfielder had not yet done with the Union.
"He was a guy that we liked at our combine," Schmid told reporters after Wednesday's preseason game. "We figured we still had some days here, we're going to need some numbers to make our game work on Saturday, so we wanted to bring him in and take a look at him and see whether what we saw at our combine is still something that he has as he steps up and plays against MLS competition."