SEATTLE, WASH. – Sounders FC today announced that it has signed midfielder Reed Baker-Whiting. The 16-year-old Homegrown Player made seven appearances in 2020 for Tacoma Defiance before spending the 2021 preseason with the First Team. He is signed to a four-year contract, with an additional club option year, bringing Seattle’s count to 24 players on the active roster. Baker-Whiting is eligible for selection for tonight’s road match at the San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park (7:30 p.m. PT / JOEtv, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).
“We are excited to add another young, talented player to our roster,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “Reed has shown promise in his time with the Academy and Tacoma Defiance, in addition to his extended time training in the First Team environment. It’s always nice to see young players climb the ranks within our development pipeline, and we look forward to seeing how Reed progresses from here.”
After signing a USL contract in July of 2020, Baker-Whiting played seven matches for Tacoma Defiance last season. After training with Sounders FC following the conclusion of the 2020 USL Championship season and traveling with the squad to the 2020 MLS Cup Final, Baker-Whiting has continued to train with the First Team up to this point in 2020. The Seattle native started for Tacoma Defiance in its 2021 season-opening 1-1 draw at LA Galaxy II on Sunday.
“Reed came to our attention last year because he fits a Seattle Sounder profile of hard work, grit, determination and his ability to adapt to the First Team training environment,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “We kept him in our First Team bubble last year, similar to Josh Atencio, and have seen the development in his overall understanding of our tactics and style of play. He has earned a chance to play for our club, and I hope he continues to improve in the physical and technical areas required to play at our level.”
Baker-Whiting joined the club via the Sounders Discovery Program from Seattle United in 2016 and was on Sounders FC’s U-12 squad in 2017 that won the Youdan Trophy after defeating Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Liverpool at the ICC Future’s tournament. He returned to the Youdan Tournament as a member of Sounders FC U-14 team in 2018, defeating Charlton Athletic 5-2 in the final. He also featured for the U-17 squad that won the 2019 Generation adidas Cup Champions Division, defeating Valencia CF in the final.
“As someone who joined the club recently, one of the intriguing aspects of this organization is its pipeline of strong young players, and Reed is the latest example of that,” said Sounders FC Vice President of Soccer Operations & Sporting Director Craig Waibel. “Reed is a promising player with positional versatility, and the fact that he’s been training with the First Team for the better part of a year is a sign that at just 16 years of age, he’s able to compete at the highest levels of our organization. We look forward to watching him develop further from here.”
Baker-Whiting marks the 17th Sounders FC Homegrown Player signing in club history. U.S. Men’s National Team defender DeAndre Yedlin was the club's first Homegrown Player in 2012, making two MLS All-Star appearances before being sold to Tottenham Hotspur in England's Premier League. The club then signed midfielder Aaron Kovar and forward Sean Okoli in 2013, before adding forwards Victor Mansaray and Darwin Jones in 2014. In 2016, the Rave Green signed University of Denver midfielder Jordan Schweitzer and 2016 MLS Rookie of the Year Jordan Morris to Homegrown deals, then added forward Seyi Adekoya from UCLA and Henry Wingo from Washington to the roster in 2017. Midfielder Handwalla Bwana became the 10th Academy product to sign with the First Team prior the 2018 season, while goalkeeper Trey Muse, midfielder Danny Leyva and forward Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez all signed in 2019. Midfielders Josh Atencio, Ethan Dobbelaere and Shandon Hopeau were signed with the First Team in June of last season.
Sounders FC’s active roster currently sits at 23 players heading into the club’s fifth match of 2021.
TRANSACTION: Sounders FC signs Homegrown midfielder Reed Baker-Whiting to a four-year contract on May 12, 2021. The club holds a fifth option year as part of the agreement.
Full Name: Reed Baker-Whiting
Hometown: Seattle, Washington
Date of Birth: March 31, 2005 in Seattle, Washington
Nationality: United States
Acquired: Signed on May 12, 2021
Previous Clubs: Tacoma Defiance (2020-2021)
CURRENT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): Stefan Cleveland, Stefan Frei, Spencer Richey
DEFENDERS (7): Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Xavier Arreaga, Jimmy Medranda, Nouhou, Shane O’Neill, Alex Roldan, Brad Smith
MIDFIELDERS (10): Josh Atencio, Reed Baker-Whiting, Jordy Delem, Ethan Dobbelaere, Shandon Hopeau, João Paulo, Danny Leyva, Nicolás Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, Kelyn Rowe
FORWARDS (4): Will Bruin, Fredy Montero, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, Raúl Ruidíaz
PLAYERS ON LOAN (3): Shandon Hopeau (San Antonio FC), Jordan Morris (Swansea City), Trey Muse (San Diego Loyal SC)