SEATTLE, WASH. – Sounders FC today announced that it has exercised its option to buy midfielder João Paulo, completing his transfer from Brazilian club Botafogo. João Paulo made 25 appearances across all competitions on loan from Botafogo last season, tallying four goals and six assists as the Rave Green advanced to the 2020 MLS Cup Final.
“I am pleased to bring a player of João Paulo’s caliber back to Seattle after an impressive first season,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “He’s a player who brings a lot of positive things to our squad, on and off the field. We feel confident that JP, Nico Lodeiro and Raúl Ruidíaz filling our Designated Player slots puts us in a good position to win in 2021.”
Like last season, João Paulo occupies one of the club's three Designated Player positions, alongside teammates Nicolás Lodeiro and Raúl Ruidíaz, 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 Paulo began the 2020 season with two goals and an assist in the Rave Green’s two matches against CD Olimpia in Concacaf Champions League action. He then proceeded to start 17 of 19 MLS regular season appearances, scoring two goals and finishing third on the team with five assists. He then started all four matches in the 2020 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, as Sounders FC reached the MLS Cup Final before falling to Columbus. In total, the Brazilian appeared in 25 games across all competitions with four goals and six assists.
“João Paulo is a skilled, composed player who was integral to our success last season,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “I’m pleased to have him back on the pitch with us in 2021 and look forward to what he can help us accomplish.”
Prior to coming to Seattle last January, João Paulo spent 10 professional seasons in Brazil, including eight in Brasileiro Série A, the country's topflight. He spent his last three Brazilian seasons with Botafogo, where he 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.
TRANSACTION: Seattle Sounders FC completes transfer of midfielder João Paulo from Botafogo as a Designated Player on January 21, 2021.
Name: João Paulo
Jersey Number: 6
Born: March 8, 1991 in Serafina Corrêa, Brazil
Hometown: Serafina Corrêa, Brazil
Acquired: Acquired by Sounders FC via loan from Botafogo on January 31, 2020. Purchased from Botafogo on January 21, 2021 and occupies a Designated Player spot.