Originally acquired from Toronto FC ahead of the 2014 season, Frei has established himself as one of the premier goalkeepers in Major League Soccer. Over his 10 seasons with the Sounders, Frei has been a key contributor as the club won four Western Conference championships, two MLS Cup titles, the 2022 Concacaf Champions League, the 2014 Supporters’ Shield and the 2014 U.S. Open Cup.
At 37 years old, Frei is coming off one of his best-ever campaigns in MLS, making history as the first MLS side to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup, and anchoring the league’s best defense with 16 shutouts across all competitions.
“Simply put, what went into [the decision-making process] was his performance,” said Sounders FC General Manager & Chief Soccer Officer Craig Waibel. “His durability, his leadership, his locker room presence, and his on-field performance all signified an easy decision from a front office perspective, which is to retain a player that’s playing at a high level.”
One of the leaders in the locker room over the last decade, Frei has been vital to several different eras of success for the club.
Frei was one of the league’s best shot stoppers when the Sounders secured the Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup double in 2014. Two years later with a largely different group of players, won MLS Cup MVP as the Rave Green won their first championship. And from 2017 to 2022 with a retooled roster, he led the club to three MLS Cup Finals, a Leagues Cup Final and the CCL Final, winning four trophies along the way.
Iconic players have come and gone during Frei’s prolific tenure with the Sounders, but he has remained a constant in the team’s success. As the Sounders prepare to enter a new era in 2024, with the club celebrating its 50th anniversary and the opening of a new world class training facility, he will be instrumental in ensuring the team remains in constant contention for trophies.
“There is a point in players’ careers when they’re really young that you’re trying to predict what someone will be,” added Waibel. “Stef has left no doubt predicting exactly what he is. He’s added definition on and off the field and is a key contributor in so many ways.”
The Sounders are coming off a season in which they finished second in the West and narrowly fell to reigning MLS Cup champions LAFC in the Western Conference Semifinals. It was a season that saw the emergence of exciting young players like Josh Atencio, Reed Baker-Whiting and Obed Vargas. With the club poised to add high-impact players in the offseason, Frei will be influential in maintaining the winning culture and high standards that have set the Sounders apart.
“He is high character, high moral fiber, and a guy that shows up every day willing to put the work in, regardless of what is asked,” said Waibel. “In terms of building a complete roster full of all different kinds of leadership qualities – some are vocal, some are off field, some are on field, some are glue guys – Stef ticks a lot of these boxes.”
Throughout the past decade, Frei has cemented his place as one of the club’s all-time greatest players. With his new contract in place, he now has an opportunity to lead the Sounders to more trophies and make more history over the next two seasons.