Sounders FC signs midfielder João Paulo as Designated Player

SEATTLE, WASH. – Sounders FC today announced that it has signed midfielder João Paulo as a Designated Player. The 28-year-old versatile midfielder comes to Seattle following a decade of professional experience in Brazil, where he made over 300 appearances across all competitions. He is being added to Sounders FC's roster pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.

“We are pleased to announce João Paulo, a talented and versatile player that brings a lot of experience to our club,” said General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “His signing adds a strong piece to an already talented roster, and we’re excited about the way our team is taking shape as the season approaches.”

The Brazilian joins Seattle's roster as its newest Designated Player, as Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) was used to lower the salary budget charge of defender Xavier Arreaga, thereby freeing one of the club's three Designated Player positions. João Paulo joins teammates Nicolás Lodeiro and Raúl Ruidíaz as Seattle's current Designated Players, the maximum number allowed by MLS. He is the club's 15th Designated Player since Seattle's inaugural MLS season in 2009. João Paulo is also occupying one of Sounders FC's international roster slots.

“João is a tactically excellent player who solves problems on the pitch, while his passing and set-piece service will help us be even more goal dangerous,” said Vice President of Soccer & Sporting Director Chris Henderson. “I had the opportunity to meet João in Brazil and witness first-hand his professionalism and character, which fit exactly what we stand for in Seattle. On top of that, he’s a former captain who brings experience and leadership to our squad.”

João Paulo spent 10 professional seasons in Brazil, including eight in Brasileiro Série A, the country’s topflight. He has spent the last three seasons with Botafogo, where he most recently made 36 league appearances in 2019, scoring three goals. He began his career with Internacional in 2010, where he spent three seasons before going out on loan to Atlético Goianiense (2013), Goiás (2014) and Santa Cruz (2015-2016). In all, João Paulo has 288 career appearances in league and state competition play, in addition to 17 Copa Libertadores appearances, including 13 in Botafogo’s run to the Quarterfinals in 2017. He also won seven state and regional trophies during his time in Brazil, including the 2018 Campeonato Carioca, back-to-back titles in the Campeonato Pernambucano (2015 and 2016) and Campeonato Gaúcho (2011 and 2012), as well as the 2013 Campeonato Goiano and 2016 Copa de Nordeste. He was included on the bench in the second leg of the 2011 Recopa Sudoamericana, in which Internacional defeated Uruguayan side Independiente 4-3 on aggregate.

“The coaching staff is always pleased to welcome talented players to our roster, and with João we are adding a versatile veteran with a track record of winning. Chris Henderson and the scouting department have done a great job of identifying talented players for our club,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “He gives us options in the midfield, as well as some more vertical passing options in the initial build up, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he fits in with the rest of the squad.”

Sounders FC finished its first out-of-town preseason camp in Southern California on Wednesday with a closed-door scrimmage vs. Loyola Marymount University. The club trains at Starfire Sports this weekend and early next week before a closed-door friendly vs. Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday, February 5 at CenturyLink Field, before heading down to Mexico City on Thursday, February 6 for a second out-of-town preseason camp. The club then proceeds to Honduras for Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League play against CD Olimpia on February 20.

TRANSACTION: Seattle Sounders FC signs midfielder João Paulo as a Designated Player on January 31, 2020.

Name: João Paulo
Pronunciation: joe-OW
Position: Midfielder
Jersey Number: 6
Height: 5-6
Weight: 155
Born: March 8, 1991 in Serafina Corrêa, Brazil
Hometown: Serafina Corrêa, Brazil
Citizenship: Brazil
Acquired: Signed by Sounders FC as a Designated Player on January 31, 2020

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