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TACOMA, WASH. – Tacoma Defiance today announced that it has signed defender Elias Katsaros to a MLS NEXT Pro contract. Financial terms were not disclosed. The 20-year-old Sounders FC Academy product was part of the Rave Green’s U-17 squad that won the 2018 U.S. Soccer Development Academy National Championship, as well as the 2018 and 2019 Generation Adidas Cup before playing collegiately at San Diego State University.

“We are delighted to see Elias take next steps in his soccer journey and we are happy to provide his first steps into the professional side of the game,” said Sounders FC Vice President of Player Development Henry Brauner. “Since joining the Academy eight years ago, he’s shown continual improvement that was only furthered during his time and success at San Diego State University. We are excited to see his development and growth as a player and person within the Sounders organization.”

Katsaros joined Sounders FC Academy in 2014 via the Sounders Discovery Program at age 12, logging 24 appearances (18 starts) at the Academy level from 2017-2020, with one goal during the 2017-2018 season. The Federal Way native went on to play collegiately at San Diego State, where he led the team in minutes as a freshman, staring all 10 matches for SDSU during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He started 26 of his 27 appearances for the Aztecs over the following two seasons, scoring three goals in 2022. He was named Pac-12 Player of the Week, U.S. Coaches Player of the Week and to the Topdrawer Soccer National Team of the Week after scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over the University of Denver on September 11.

“I am excited for Elias to join Tacoma Defiance,” said Tacoma Defiance Head Coach Wade Webber. “I have been aware of him as a player for well over a decade as he played for area youth clubs before joining our Academy. He even had an appearance playing four years up with our 1998 age group back in the 2017 Academy playoffs before achieving success in his own age by helping the Sounders win their first GA Cup. He has developed as a player and person at San Diego State, and we have been monitoring him along the way. His promising combination of athleticism and technical competence gives him a solid foundation, and I have been impressed by the clarity of his desire to take the next step and move into the professional game. On behalf of the Defiance staff, we are happy for Elias and eager to get to work.”

Katsaros was on the U-17 squad that captured a pair of Generation Adidas Cup titles in 2018 and 2019, as well as helped capture a win over Atlanta United in the 2018 U.S. Soccer Development Academy Final.

TRANSACTION: Tacoma Defiance signs defender Elias Katsaros on December 16, 2022.

Full Name: Elias Katsaros

Pronunciation: El-ee-is Cat-sa-rohs

Position: Defender

Height: 6-0

Weight: 170

Hometown: Federal Way, Washington

Date of Birth: January 3, 2002 in Berlin, Germany

Nationality: German

Acquired: Signed on December 16, 2022