SEATTLE, WASH. – Sounders FC today announced that it has re-signed goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland to a two-year contract, with a club option for 2024. The 27-year-old returns for a third season in Seattle after a 2021 campaign that saw him play a key role for the Rave Green, making 15 regular-season starts and recording three shutouts. The signing of Cleveland gives Sounders FC three rostered goalkeepers (Stefan Frei, Andrew Thomas) and brings the current roster to 25 players going into the 2022 campaign.
“We are pleased bring to Stefan back to the club after his performance last season,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “He proved that he can play at a top level when called upon, and we are excited to have another talented member of our roster return this season.”
Cleveland, who joined the club prior to the 2020 season, saw himself thrust into the starting role last year after Stefan Frei suffered a knee injury against San Jose on May 12. Cleveland proceeded to start 15 regular-season games for Seattle, recording 47 saves en route to a 6-4-5 record, a 1.13 goals against average (GAA) and three shutouts. He also recorded a cleansheet in a 3-0 win over Liga MX side Tigres UANL in the 2021 Leagues Cup quarterfinals, as well as two appearances for Tacoma Defiance in 2021.
“Stefan stepped up and provided us with a great presence in goal last season,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “Having him back with Tom Dutra and the rest of our goalkeeping unit gives us great security at an important position on the field.”
Cleveland originally came to Seattle in November of 2019 by way of the Chicago Fire, where he spent three seasons, starting five games and recording 33 saves for the MLS club during the 2018 campaign. He logged 22 starts during the 2019 season with Lansing Ignite FC, Chicago’s USL League One affiliate, in addition to three appearances for USL Championship side FC Tulsa from 2017-2018.
“Stefan is a talented goalkeeper that showed his ability to succeed at the MLS level,” said Senior Vice President of Soccer & Sporting Director Craig Waibel. "Retaining a proven and reliable player like Stefan gives us even more confidence in our goalkeeping core. We look forward to having him on our roster again this season."
Prior to going pro, Cleveland’s collegiate career included 22 games for Louisville in 2016, earning 10 shutouts while maintaining a 0.72 GAA. His played his first three college seasons at Dartmouth, appearing in 33 games with 16 shutouts, winning 2015 Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year.
TRANSACTION: Sounders FC re-signs goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland on January 19, 2022.
Full Name: Stefan Cleveland
Hometown: Dayton, Ohio
Date of Birth: May 24, 1994 in Dayton, Ohio
Nationality: United States
Acquired: Re-signed on January 19, 2022
Previous Clubs: Chicago Fire (2017-2019), Lansing Ignite (2019), FC Tulsa (2017-2018)
CURRENT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): Stefan Cleveland, Stefan Frei, Andrew Thomas
DEFENDERS (6): Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Xavier Arreaga, Abdoulaye Cissoko, Jimmy Medranda, Nouhou, Brad Smith
MIDFIELDERS (12): Josh Atencio, Reed Baker-Whiting, Léo Chú, Ethan Dobbelaere, João Paulo, Danny Leyva, Nicolás Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, Kelyn Rowe, Albert Rusnák, Obed Vargas, Dylan Teves
FORWARDS (4): Samuel Adeniran, Jordan Morris, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, Raúl Ruidíaz