Official: Seattle Sounders hire Freddy Juarez as assistant coach

The Seattle Sounders have hired Freddy Juarez to join their coaching staff as an assistant under head coach Brian Schmetzer, the club announced Wednesday.

The hire comes after Juarez departed as Real Salt Lake's head coach midseason to pursue a "new opportunity." The Athletic first reported the link between Juarez and the Sounders shortly after news of his departure broke, with Wednesday's release from Seattle serving to make the move official.

Seattle needed to bolster their coaching staff following the recent departures of assistants Gonzalo Pineda and Djimi Traore. Pineda accepted the vacant head coaching position at Atlanta United following the departure of Gabriel Heinze, while Traore left for an opportunity in Europe.

“I am very pleased to add a coach of Freddy’s caliber to our staff. I respect the job he did as head coach at Real Salt Lake, and his eye for the game will be a tremendous asset for our team,” Schmetzer said in Wednesday's release. “When considering candidates to bring into our coaches room, there were certain characteristics I was looking for: humble, hard-working, honest, loyal to the club. I believe Freddy checks every box and I am looking forward to bringing him on board.”

Juarez had served as RSL's head coach since first taking over on an interim basis in October 2019 for the departed Mike Petke. This season, he had guided RSL to a 7W-7L-6D record, with the club's current haul of 27 points leaving them in possession of the seventh and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

He had been with the RSL organization since 2010, starting as the club's youth academy coach before becoming the first head coach in the history of USL Championship affiliate Real Monarchs and eventually joining the first-team coaching staff. The 43-year-old's contract was up at the end of this season, with the club having an option for 2022.

Juarez joins a Seattle side that currently sits atop the Western Conference table with a 12W-4L-6D record and 42 points, although the Rave Green are coming off a frustrating 2-0 home defeat to their rival Portland Timbers at Lumen Field on Sunday.

“I am excited for this new challenge and looking forward to working with Brian and his staff to contribute to the continued success of this incredible club,” Juarez said. “I’m so grateful to everyone that has reached out and welcomed me as family into the Sounders ranks. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this amazing community and can’t wait to get to the grind for the fans at Lumen Field.”