Staying in Seattle: Sounders announce transfer of midfielder João Paulo

João Paulo MLS Sounders

Seattle, Wash. — João Paulo is staying with the Seattle Sounders FC. On Thursday, right before the MLS SuperDraft began, the Sounders confirmed the news, which was rumored for a few weeks. He is being transferred from Brazilian club Botafogo, as he was only on loan last season.

In his first MLS season, João Paulo helped the Sounders get to yet another MLS Cup Final. Seattle did not lift the trophy, falling to the Columbus Crew SC. However, in 2020, João Paulo cemented himself as a key player for the Rave Green. He tallied two goals and five assists in 19 appearances in the regular season. He started 17 of those appearances.

In the playoffs, he started all four appearances.

Garth Lagerwey, Sounders general manager, called João Paulo’s first season in MLS “impressive.”

“He’s a player who brings a lot of positive things to our squad, on and off the field,” Lagerwey said. “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.”

João Paulo being a Designated Player means that Xaiver Arreaga is no longer a DP. However, Lagerwey did not touch on that in the Sounders’ press release. Meanwhile, Sounders manager Brian Schmetzer — who is rumored to have signed a deal with the Sounders — expressed his excitement to have the Brazilian back.

“João Paulo is a skilled, composed player who was integral to our success last season,” Schmetzer said. “I’m pleased to have him back on the pitch with us in 2021 and look forward to what he can help us accomplish.”

Before joining the Sounders, João Paulo featured in his native country for 10 years for Internacional, Santa Cruz and Botafogo. He had some loan spells in his career.

Seattle Sounders roster as of Jan. 21, 2021

Goalkeepers: Stefan Frei, Trey Muse

Defenders: Xavier Arreaga, Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Nouhou, Shane O’Neill, Alex Roldan, Brad Smith

Midfielders: Josh Atencio, Jordy Delem, Ethan Dobbelaere, Shandon Hopeau, Danny Leyva, Nicolás Lodeiro, João Paulo, Cristian Roldan

Forwards: Will Bruin, Jordan Morris, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, Raúl Ruidíaz