Press Release

Tacoma Defiance Signs Faysal Bettache, Burke Fahling and Sebastian Gomez

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TACOMA, WASH. – Tacoma Defiance today announced that it has signed midfielders Faysal Bettache, Burke Fahling and Sebastian Gomez to MLS NEXT Pro contracts. Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. Bettache played for St. Louis CITY SC 2 last season, while Fahling played for Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC of the USL Championship. Gomez joins Tacoma after coming up through Sounders FC Academy.

“We are excited to sign Faysal, Burke and Sebastian to Tacoma Defiance contracts,” Sounders FC Director of Development Wade Webber said. “Faysal is technically strong, has an excellent understanding of space and brings a fairly unique set of playing experiences into our group. Burke was in our academy many years ago and we have kept track of him ever since. He is a veteran leader with both a professional mindset and professional experiences that will help set an example for others to follow. Sebastian impressed us in his time with Defiance last year as an academy product, demonstrating field awareness, versatility and no small amount of skill while also being willing to aggressively defend his position.”

Bettache, 23, signs with Tacoma following a year with St. Louis CITY 2. He appeared in 27 matches (24 starts) in MLS NEXT Pro play, tallying nine goals and two assists, including a hat trick on the road against Houston Dynamo 2 on September 4. Before joining St. Louis, the London native spent the majority of his career in Queens Park Rangers FC’s system at the Academy, U-18 and U-21 levels, including a loan to Billericay Town FC for part of the 2019-2020 season where he made four appearances. Over the course of his time with QPR, the midfielder made 13 appearances for the club in all competitions before being loaned to Oldham Athletic in 2021, where he made 13 appearances in all competitions, tallying one assist. He was then loaned to Aldershot of the National League for part of the 2022-2023 season where he made seven appearances before joining St. Louis.

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Fahling, 26, a former academy product, joins Defiance after playing for Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC last season, making 16 appearances (seven starts) in all competitions, recording three goals and two assists. Prior to his time with Pittsburgh, the Kirkland, Washington native played for Charleston Battery during the 2021 season, followed by a year with FC Tuscon. While with Charleston, Fahling recorded 27 USL Championship appearances (16 starts), scoring two goals and bagging two assists. The midfielder made 29 appearances (22 starts) FC Tucson of USL League One, tallying three assists in all competitions in 2022.

“It’s always a good thing when you can sign players from a variety of pathways and backgrounds to your club, and that’s what we have done with Faysal, Burke and Sebastian,” said Tacoma Defiance Head Coach Hervé Diese. “They will only improve within our system and I’m confident they will compete at the high standard we are accustomed to playing at.”


Gomez, 17, first joined the Sounders FC Academy in October of 2017 and has played for both the U-15 and U-17 levels, totaling 23 total appearances and scoring six goals. He got his first taste of MLS NEXT Pro action when he appeared in nine matches (two starts) for Tacoma last season as an Academy player. The midfielder recorded an assist in a 4-4 draw with Minnesota United FC 2 on May 15. Gomez was also on the U-17 Sounders FC Academy team that won the 2022 Generation Adidas Cup, making seven appearances throughout the course of the tournament. He also started seven matches during Seattle’s 2023 GA Cup run.

Defiance opens its third MLS NEXT Pro season on the road with a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Semifinals against Austin FC II on Friday, March 15 at Parmer Field. Tacoma then hosts Colorado Rapids 2 in its home opener at Starfire Stadium on Sunday, March 24. Defiance finished second in the Western Conference last season and is coming off back-to-back Pacific Division titles.

TRANSACTION: Tacoma Defiance signs midfielders Faysal Bettache, Burke Fahling and Sebastian Gomez to contracts on February 27, 2024.

Full Name: Faysal Bettache

Pronunciation: Fey-sahl Batch

Position: Midfielder

Height: 6-1

Weight: 158

Hometown: London, England

Date of Birth: July 7, 2000 in London, England

Nationality: England/Algeria

Acquired: Signed to Tacoma Defiance contract on February 27, 2024

Full Name: Burke Fahling

Pronunciation: Falling

Position: Midfielder

Height: 5-7

Weight: 163

Hometown: Kirkland, Washington

Date of Birth: August 3, 1997 in Kirkland, Washington

Nationality: USA

Acquired: Signed to Tacoma Defiance contract on February 27, 2024

Full Name: Sebastian Gomez

Position: Midfielder

Height: 5-8

Weight: 138

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Date of Birth: May 21, 2008 in Boca Raton, Florida

Nationality: Canada/Nicaragua/USA

Acquired: Signed to Tacoma Defiance contract on February 27, 2024