Sounders newest Designated Player Joao Paulo joins the team

The Seattle Sounders welcome newly signed midfielder Joao Paulo to Saturdays practice at StarFire Sports. The The 28-year-old versatile midfielder comes to Seattle following a decade of professional experience in Brazil, where he made over 300 appearances across all competitions


The Brazilian joins Seattle’s roster as its newest Designated Player, as Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) was used to lower the salary budget charge of defender Xavier Arreaga, thereby freeing one of the club’s three Designated Player positions.

João Paulo joins teammates Nicolás Lodeiro and Raúl Ruidíaz as Seattle’s current Designated Players, 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 spent 10 professional seasons in Brazil, including eight in Brasileiro Série A, the country’s topflight. He has spent the last three seasons with Botafogo, where he most recently 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.

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