Uruguayan midfielder Fernández headed to Seattle

Seattle Sounders FC announced Thursday that they have acquired Uruguay National Team midfielder Álvaro Fernández to occupy the club’s third Designated Player spot.

Fernández, 24, played in four matches for semifinalist Uruguay during the recent 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. His signing will be finalized upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate.

Fernández has not yet been added to the active roster. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms were not disclosed.

Fernández started for Uruguay in the quarterfinal against Ghana and was a substitute in wins over South Africa, Mexico and South Korea at the World Cup. La Celeste took fourth in South Africa, their best finish since 1970.

Fernandez has been capped 11 times by Uruguay – including appearances in six qualifiers – since his debut in 2008.

"I'm very excited to be playing in the US, because the football has grown a lot in the last few years and keeps getting better," Fernandez said in a statement. "Seattle is beautiful and I think it's the ideal place to be with my family. All these things helped in making my decision."

"Álvaro is a versatile player who can play in a number of midfield positions," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said in a statement. "He brings good energy to the game as well as World Cup experience. He can score and also set up others."

Fernandez played the 2010 season for Chile's Universidad. The Santiago-based club, finished second in the Primera División and is currently in the semifinal stage of the Copa Libertadores.

"My goals are always the same whenever I join a team: try to help, on and off the field; help the club achieve its goals; and, obviously, win championships,” Fernández said. “I believe I can contribute through my experience. I describe myself as a fast, smooth player, who can play on either flank. I am strong in the air, and I work very hard."

"Álvaro is experienced internationally and he has demonstrated a tremendous work rate and great tactical awareness," Sounders technical director Chris Henderson said. "He likes to connect passes, possesses good pace and moves well off the ball."

Seattle’s other two Designated Player spots are currently occupied by Swedish midfielder Freddie Ljungberg and Swiss striker Blaise Nkufo. The Sounders have stated that Ljungberg is currently training away from the club while entertaining other playing options, while Nkufo made his MLS debut for the Sounders last Sunday in a 2-1 win over Colorado.


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