Ahead of the Seattle Sounders’ opening match in the 2023 FIFA Club World Cup on Saturday (9:00 a.m. PT | FOX 13+, FS2, FOX Deportes), new forward Héber appears poised for significant contributions.
The veteran striker, who was acquired in an offseason trade with New York City FC, provides valuable depth in the attack ahead of a monumental campaign.
“[Héber] is an interesting character and he's got a lot of talent,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “He's just a good goal scorer, very good inside the penalty box and [produces] clean touches.”
The decision to acquire Héber was an easy one, with the forward recognized as an offensive threat in the MLS and on an international scale.
Héber tallied 24 goals in 70 MLS regular-season appearances and 30 goals across all competitions with the New York City club. Beyond MLS play, the Colorado do Oeste native produced 26 goals over the course of two seasons with Croatian club NK Rijeka and 10 goals in a single season with topflight team NK Slaven Belupo. He also appeared for Armenian football club FC Alashkert where he was acknowledged as the league-leading scorer with 16 goals while guiding the team to its first-ever title in 2016. Prior to joining FC Alashkert, he spent time playing his trade for Avaí FC, CRAC and Figueirense FC.
Héber’s experience playing for multiple professional organizations has shown immensely since arriving to Seattle early January.
“His adjustment has been great, because number one, he's an incredibly [gifted] soccer player and number two, he's just a really nice man,” said Schmetzer. “Héber’s come in and been really sharp in training…He fits into our group very well.”
Héber’s quick acclimation to the Sounders also comes from the support given by the coaches, players and overall club, describing his first few days with the organization as “amazing.” Fellow Brazilians Léo Chú and João Paulo are among the many players who have made his time with the club a comfortable one so far.
“The guys have been very welcoming, everyone has made me feel at home already,” said Héber. “I’m so happy to be here.”
While Héber’s debut with the Sounders could come this Saturday at the FIFA Club World Cup, the Brazilian forward is also eager to make his first appearance in Rave Green at Lumen Field in front of the club’s supporters.
“It’s going to be amazing because I remember when I played against [the Sounders] and how loud the fans could scream,” said Héber. “I can't wait to wear this green jersey and enjoy that moment.”
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