TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Trade
- CLT receive: Bill Tuiloma
- POR receive: Up to $900k GAM
Charlotte FC have acquired veteran defender Bill Tuiloma in a trade with the Portland Timbers, both clubs announced Thursday.
For the 27-year-old New Zealand international, Charlotte sent Portland $800,000 in General Allocation Money (GAM), which breaks down as follows: guaranteed $500k in 2023 GAM and guaranteed $300k in 2024 GAM. An additional $100k in 2025 GAM will be sent as well if certain performance metrics are met.
Portland also retain 15 percent of a future transfer fee if Tuiloma is sold outside of MLS.
“We are excited to welcome Bill to Charlotte FC as we keep adding strong pieces to a competitive roster for 2023 and beyond,” sporting director Zoran Krneta said in a press release.
“He is a defender who adds valuable experience to the team with over 100 appearances across five full seasons in MLS, as well as significant time with the New Zealand national team. Bill is a player that is used to winning in Major League Soccer and has been an important member on a perennial playoff contender."
After spending four years under contract with Ligue 1 giants Marseille, Tuiloma was signed by the Timbers in 2017 and made his first-team debut the following season. The center back has 10 goals and six assists in 107 regular-season appearances with Portland, helping the club win the MLS is Back Tournament in 2020.
His 6g/3a in 2022 were a career-best for the New Zealander.
Tuiloma projects as a likely starter in Charlotte's backline, which suffered the tragic passing of Anton Walkes this offseason. The club drafted Hamady Diop first overall in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft presented by adidas, but remained light on center backs, with Guzmán Corujo still recovering from an ACL injury suffered last year.
For Portland, Tuiloma's exit paves the way for 25-year-old Zac McGraw to compete for a starting spot in the Timbers' defense. Veterans Dario Zuparic and Larrys Mabiala are other options for head coach Giovanni Savarese.
“This was not an easy decision for us as a club – Bill is a great player with tremendous character,” Portland general manager Ned Grabavoy said.
“This move is a reflection of our challenges to keep a majority of our roster intact over the course of many seasons. We are grateful for Bill’s contributions to the club, and we are all wishing him nothing but the best with this new opportunity.”
Charlotte kick off their second MLS season on Feb. 25 when hosting the New England Revolution (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass), while Portland host Sporting Kansas City that same night (10:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass) in Matchday 1.
READ MORE: MLS Transfer Tracker presented by Avant