Press Release

Tacoma Defiance Signs Defender Gio Miglietti and Midfielder Paul Rothrock


TACOMA, WASH. – Tacoma Defiance today announced that it has signed defender Gio Miglietti and midfielder Paul Rothrock to MLS NEXT Pro contracts. Financial terms were not disclosed. A pair of Sounders FC Academy products, Miglietti signs his first professional contract after a collegiate career at Washington, while Rothrock returns to Seattle following a pair of seasons with Toronto FC II.

“We are pleased to welcome back Gio and Paul to our development pathway,” said Vice President of Player Development Henry Brauner. “Both players have garnered good experience from their non-traditional route into the modern professional game and we feel their experience along this path will add a level of maturity and intensify the climate we hope to create in Defiance.”

Miglietti, 23, joined Sounders FC Academy in 2017, appearing in 19 matches (all starts) in 2017-2018, scoring one goal, in addition to seven matches for Sounders FC 2 as an amateur in 2018. The Hawthorne, California native was a two-time All-Pac-12 honoree during his career at Washington from 2018-2022, recording 19 goals and seven assists. Making the switch to defender during his final season, he tallied five goals and two assists in 2022, including a brace against Stanford on October 30.

“We are excited to get the chance to work with Gio this season,” said Tacoma Defiance Head Coach Wade Webber. “He is someone we know well, being a product of our Academy, but he is also a player who has been challenged to convert to a more defensive role. It’s been a pleasure to watch him develop under the tutelage of Jamie Clark at the University of Washington. He is a fighter, always competitive and brings great commitment to training and games. We look forward to helping him continue his development as a professional.”

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Rothrock, 24, joined Sounders FC Academy in 2016 and scored in his lone appearance as an amateur for Sounders FC 2 against Real Monarchs on July 9, 2017. He played collegiately from 2017-2020 with Notre Dame and Georgetown, helping the Hoyas to the program’s first NCAA Championship in 2019, tallying four goals and seven assists. Rothrock was selected 64th overall in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft by Toronto, scoring four goals in 12 USL League One appearances for Toronto FC II in 2021, before an eight-goal effort in 2022, leading the club to the MLS NEXT Pro Eastern Conference Final.

“It’s such a pleasure to welcome Paul back to Seattle,” said Webber. “His performance for Toronto FC II over the last two seasons demonstrated the value and impact he can have on a team, helping them qualify for the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs and nearly knocking off Columbus Crew 2 in the Conference Final. He is a leader on and off the field and has the sort of training ethic that will raise the level of those around him. As a player he is relentless with and without the ball. I know he had options to choose from this offseason, but we are so excited he made the decision to join Tacoma Defiance for 2023. We look forward to helping him take his next step in the professional game.” 

The moves bring Tacoma’s roster to 11 players as the club continues preparations for its second MLS NEXT Pro season.

TRANSACTION: Tacoma Defiance signs defender Gio Miglietti and midfielder Paul Rothrock to MLS NEXT Pro contracts on January 26, 2023.

Full Name: Gio Miglietti

Pronunciation: Mig-lee-etti

Position: Defender

Height: 6-0

Weight: 185

Hometown: Hawthorne, California

Date of Birth: September 5, 1999 in Torrance, California

Nationality: United States

Acquired: Signed on January 26, 2023

Full Name: Paul Rothrock

Position: Midfielder

Height: 5-9

Weight: 163

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth: January 9, 1999 in Seattle, Washington

Nationality: United States

Acquired: Signed on January 26, 2023