Transfer Tracker

Seattle Sounders sign homegrown midfielder Sota Kitahara from Tacoma Defiance



Seattle Sounders FC have signed homegrown midfielder Sota Kitahara after he played for MLS NEXT Pro side Tacoma Defiance from 2021-22, the club announced Friday.

Kitahara, 19, is signed through the 2024 MLS season with club options in 2025 and 2026.

“We are excited to have Sota sign with the first team,” said senior vice president of soccer operations & sporting director Craig Waibel. “Since joining the Sounders Discovery Program in 2014, he has shown continued improvement every year at all levels of our development pathway. I believe he will be an excellent addition to an already talented midfield.”

Kitahara made 28 appearances with Tacoma from 2021-22, scoring one goal. He spent a portion of the 2021 season on loan with FC Pinzgau Saalfelden of Austria’s third tier of professional soccer.

“It’s always nice to bring young players up to the first team who have earned their way through our system,” said head coach Brian Schmetzer. “I’m excited to see how Sota contributes to the squad when we begin preseason camp.”

Kitahara is the 20th homegrown player in Sounders history and he’s the eighth homegrown player on the club’s active roster.

Heading into 2023, Seattle are looking to rebound from seeing their league-record 13-year Audi MLS Cup Playoffs streak end. However, they won the Concacaf Champions League and are poised to feature at the next FIFA Club World Cup.