2021_05_02_SEAvsLA_Fiechtner-170

SEATTLE, WASH. – Sounders FC today announced that it has agreed to contract extensions with forward Raúl Ruidíaz, midfielder João Paulo and defender Xavier Arreaga. Ruidíaz, the club’s four-time defending Golden Boot winner and a back-to-back MLS Best XI selection, inks a deal to remain in Seattle through 2024. João Paulo, a 2021 Best XI selection and finalist for 2021 Landon Donovan MLS MVP, is now under contract through 2023 with a club option for 2024. Arreaga, an anchor on the backline with 50 starts over the past three seasons, is now guaranteed through 2023 with club options for 2024 and 2025.

“Raúl, João Paulo and Xavier have proven they are important pieces of the club’s success, and we’re pleased to have signed each of them to contract extension,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “With 28 players under contract, we feel that we’re in a great position ahead of upcoming Concacaf Champions League action and the MLS regular season.”

In 2021, Ruidíaz led the Rave Green in goals for the fourth consecutive season, becoming the first player in club history to win four Sounders FC Golden Boot titles. The Peruvian’s 17 regular-season goals last season tied Obafemi Martins’ club record set in 2014, finishing tied for third in MLS in 2021. He also led MLS with seven game-winning goals and was tied for the league-lead with four multi-goal games. Ruidíaz also added two goals in 2021 League’s Cup action, giving him 19 across all competitions in 2021, which also tied Martins’ club record set in 2014. His play last season earned him a start in the 2021 MLS All-Star Game and a spot on the MLS Best XI roster. The striker has 50 MLS regular-season goals to his name since joining Seattle, scoring in the double-digits every season since arriving at the club in 2018. Ruidíaz came to MLS following his time with Morelia of Liga MX, where he scored 40 goals over two seasons (across all competitions).

“These are three players who have been very important to our team, on the field and in the locker room,” Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer said. “As a coach, I’m always pleased to have talented players available for selection, so I couldn’t be happier that these three will remain in Seattle for the foreseeable future.”

João Paulo had his best season as a Sounder in 2021. Starting 28 of 31 regular-season appearances in his second year with the Rave Green, the Brazilian scored three goals and tallied 11 assists (tied for sixth in MLS). A two-way standout in midfield, João Paulo finished fifth in league-wide in touches (2,463), while ranking first in tackles won (42), second in interceptions (36) and third in duels won (176) among players with at least 10 assists. The set piece specialist ranked second in MLS with 42 chances created from set plays and tied for third with six assists from set plays. For his efforts in 2021, João Paulo was voted a starter in the 2021 MLS All-Star Game, earned Best XI honors and was one of five finalists for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP. He also won Sounders FC’s team MVP award. In his first season with the club in 2020, the midfielder recorded two goals and five assists in 19 appearances, recording an assist in his first match with the club. Prior to his time with Seattle, João Paulo was a top performer for Brazilian club Botafogo, where he played since 2017.

“It was very important to us to ink Raúl, João Paulo and Xavier to new deals and secure each of their futures in Seattle,” said Sounders FC Senior Vice President of Soccer Operations & Sporting Director Craig Waibel. “It’s a testament to their performance since they arrived, as well as the club’s commitment to winning consistently. We look forward to continuing to see them in Rave Green.”

In his third year with Seattle, Arreaga helped provide security on a backline that allowed only 33 goals last season, tied for fewest in MLS. The Ecuador international ranked fourth on the team with 37 interceptions last year, while winning over 60 percent of his duels. Ranking sixth on the team in minutes, Arreaga also tallied two goals in 2021, with both of those matches resulting in wins for the Rave Green. The defender became a regular for the Ecuador National Team, making nine appearances for La Tri during its 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, starting seven matches and adding one goal. Prior to joining Seattle, Arreaga spent four years with Barcelona of Ecuador’s top division, Liga Pro, scoring eight goals during his time there.

Sounders FC Current Roster & Contract Status
Sounders FC Current Roster & Contract Status
Player
Guaranteed
Option Years
Sam Adeniran
2022
2023, 2024
Xavier Arreaga (TAM, INTL)
2022-2023
2024, 2025
Josh Atencio (HG)
2020-2022
2023, 2024
Reed Baker-Whiting (HG)
2021-2024
2025
Will Bruin
2022
2023
Léo Chú (U-22, INTL)
2021-2024
2025
Abdoulaye Cissoko (INTL)
2021-2022
2023
Stefan Cleveland
2022-2023
2024
Ethan Dobbelaere (HG)
2020-2023
2024
Stefan Frei
2021-2023
N/A
Yeimar Gómez Andrade (TAM, INTL)
2020-2023
2024
João Paulo (TAM, INTL)
2022-2023
2024
Danny Leyva (HG)
2019-2022
2023
Nicolás Lodeiro (DP)
2021-2023
N/A
Jimmy Medranda
2021-2022
N/A
Fredy Montero
2022
2023
Jordan Morris (TAM)
2019-2022
2023
Nouhou (INTL)
2021-2023
2024
Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (HG)
2019-2022
2023
Alex Roldan
2022-2024
2025
Cristian Roldan (TAM)
2019-2023
N/A
Kelyn Rowe
2022-2023
N/A
Raúl Ruidíaz (DP)
2022-2024
N/A
Albert Rusnák (DP)
2022-2023
2024
Dylan Teves (HG)
2022
2023, 2024, 2025
Andrew Thomas
2021-2022
2023, 2024
Obed Vargas (HG)
2022-2025
2026
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