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SEATTLE, WASH. – Seattle Sounders FC today announced that it has signed midfielder Sota Kitahara to a First Team contract. Kitahara, a Sounders FC Academy product, most recently played for Tacoma Defiance from 2021-2022. The midfielder signs a two-year deal with club options in 2025 and 2026.

“We are excited to have Sota sign with the First Team,” said Senior Vice President of Soccer Operations & Sporting Director Craig Waibel. “Since joining the Sounders Discovery Program in 2014, he has shown continued improvement every year at all levels of our development pathway. I believe he will be an excellent addition to an already talented midfield.”

Kitahara, 19, joined the Sounders Discovery Program in 2014 before moving to the Academy, making 14 appearances in his first year at the U-16 level. After his time with the Academy, he signed with Tacoma Defiance in December 2020, making 28 appearances with the club from 2021-2022, scoring one goal. He spent a portion of the 2021 season on loan with FC Pinzgau Saalfelden of Austria’s third tier of professional soccer.

“It’s always nice to bring young players up to the First Team who have earned their way through our system,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “I’m excited to see how Sota contributes to the squad when we begin preseason camp.”

Kitahara becomes the 20th Homegrown Player in team history. His addition marks the eighth Homegrown Player on the Sounders FC roster, joining Josh Atencio, Reed Baker-Whiting, Ethan Dobbelaere, Danny Leyva, Jordan Morris, Dylan Teves and Obed Vargas.

Sounders FC’s roster currently sits at 24 players as the club continues its offseason preparations for the 2023 campaign.

TRANSACTION: Sounders FC signs midfielder Sota Kitahara to a two-year contract with club options for 2025 and 2026 on October 28, 2022.

Full Name: Sota Kitahara

Pronunciation: SOH-tuh KIT-uh-HAR-uh

Position: Midfielder

Height: 5-7

Weight: 146

Hometown: Edmonds, Washington

Date of Birth: January 11, 2003 in Edmonds, Washington

Nationality: United States

Transaction: Signed to First Team contract on October 28, 2022

Previous Clubs: Tacoma Defiance (2021-2022)

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