Seattle Sounders players João Paulo, Xavier Arreaga and Nouhou receive green cards

Seattle Sounders FC have found increased roster flexibility with Tuesday’s news that João Paulo, Xavier Arreaga and Nouhou have all been granted their U.S. Green Cards, giving them permanent resident status in the United States.

With the update, that trio will no longer occupy international slots on Seattle’s roster. They have four open international roster slots, with three current international players on the roster: AB Cissoko, Léo Chú and Yeimar Gómez Andrade.

João Paulo, a 30-year-old Brazilian midfielder, is entering his third season with Seattle and coming off a stellar 2021 campaign where he finished third in Landon Donovan MLS MVP voting. He's been ever-steady since his arrival from Botafogo, with five goals and 16 assists across 50 regular-season appearances (45 starts).

Arreaga, a 27-year-old Ecuador international, joined the Sounders midway through the 2019 campaign from Barcelona SC in his home country. He has two goals and two assists across 54 regular-season appearances (50 starts).

Nouhou, 24, is coming off a standout performance at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations where he was a regular starter at left back for Cameroon during their third-place tournament run. He has five assists in 110 regular-season games (74 starts) since debuting in 2017 for Seattle, where he's become a fan favorite.

João Paulo and Nouhou were both MLS All-Star selections in 2021.