SEATTLE, WASH. – Sounders FC today announced the signing of Slovakian international Albert Rusnák as a Designated Player. One of the top attacking midfielders in MLS, the 27-year-old joins Seattle as a free agent after tallying 41 goals and 39 assists over five seasons with Real Salt Lake. The Slovakian international came to MLS in 2017 following three seasons with FC Groningen in the Eredivisie, the Dutch First Division. Rusnák’s contract covers the 2022 and 2023 seasons, with a team option for 2024.
“We are very excited to welcome such a quality player like Albert to Seattle,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “At 27, he is in the prime of his career and already knows our league very well. We’re confident his addition puts our roster in a very good position to succeed in 2022.”
Rusnák is coming off a 2021 season where he scored a career-high 11 goals to go along with 11 assists, while starting all 34 MLS regular-season games. He began his five-year stint with RSL in 2014, leading the squad with seven goals and finishing tied for third in MLS with 14 assists, followed by back-to-back 10-goal seasons in 2018 and 2019. In his five seasons in Utah, Rusnák totaled 41 goals and 39 assists in 140 regular-season appearances (135 starts), in addition to one goal in five postseason games (all starts).
“I am very pleased to add a player of Albert’s caliber to our roster,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “For years, he has been one of the more difficult players we’ve had to face, so I’m more than happy we get to welcome him to our team as preseason camp begins.”
Rusnák occupies one of the club's three Designated Player positions, alongside Nicolás Lodeiro and Raúl Ruidíaz, the maximum number allowed by MLS. He is the club's 16th Designated Player since Seattle's inaugural MLS season in 2009. Midfielder João Paulo is eligible to count on the roster as a TAM (Targeted Allocation Money) player for the 2022 season, after the Brazilian occupied a Designated Player position in 2020 and 2021.
“Albert is a dynamic playmaker with a proven track record of success, both here and abroad,” said Sounders FC Senior Vice President of Soccer Operations & Sporting Director Craig Waibel. “After bringing him to MLS in 2017 and observing his play over the past five years in Utah, we’re confident that his leadership and consistency will be valuable assets to our team going forward.”
Prior to joining Real Salt Lake in January of 2017, Rusnák spent three seasons with FC Groningen, scoring 12 goals in 73 appearances across all competitions. He scored both goals in a 2-0 win over PEC Zwolle in the 2015 KNVB Cup Final (Dutch domestic cup), qualifying Groningen for the UEFA Europa League the next season, where appeared in six matches. A product of Manchester City’s youth system from 2010-2013, Rusnák started his senior professional career in 2013, going on loan to English clubs Oldham Athletic and Birmingham City during the 2013-2014 season. He then scored four goals in 19 appearances the next season on loan with Eredivisie side SC Camburr before transferring to Groningen in December of 2014. At the international level, Rusnák has seven goals in 34 career appearances for the Slovakian National Team, including two goals in four appearances thus far in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
Sounders FC continues to prepare for the club’s 2022 season, with the first training session of 2022 taking place on Friday, January 14 at Starfire Sports. The club kicks off the competitive calendar with a home-and-away series against F.C. Motagua in the 2022 Concacaf Champions League. Seattle plays in Honduras on February 17 before hosting Motagua on February 24 at Lumen Field. The Rave Green’s 2022 MLS campaign begins at home on February 27 vs. Nashville SC.
TRANSACTION: Sounders FC signs midfielder Albert Rusnák as Designated Player on January 13, 2022.
Full Name: Albert Rusnák
Hometown: Košice, Slovakia
Date of Birth: July 7, 1994 in Vyškov, Czech Republic
Acquired: Signed on January 13, 2022
CURRENT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (2): Stefan Frei, Andrew Thomas
DEFENDERS (6): Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Xavier Arreaga, Abdoulaye Cissoko, Jimmy Medranda, Nouhou, Brad Smith
MIDFIELDERS (11): Josh Atencio, Reed Baker-Whiting, Léo Chú, Ethan Dobbelaere, João Paulo, Danny Leyva, Nicolás Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, Albert Rusnák, Obed Vargas, Dylan Teves
FORWARDS (4): Samuel Adeniran,Jordan Morris, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, Raúl Ruidíaz