Orlando City SC made a significant addition to their backline on Tuesday, when they officially announced the signing of US national team defender Jonathan Spector.
Spector, 30, joins Orlando after most recently playing for English Championship side Birmingham City. Spector made 179 appearances since joining Birmingham in the summer of 2011, and had played in 23 games this season before departing to join the Lions.
“We are thrilled to add a player of Jonathan’s pedigree to our roster,” Lions CEO Alex Leitao said in a statement released by the club. “We are very confident Jonathan will fit nicely into our camp and provide veteran leadership in the back.”
“It’s no secret we have been looking for another defender,” Lions general manager Niki Budalic added. “Jonathan brings the leadership and character we've been looking for. His experience will be a valuable asset to build a competitive squad.”
A native of Arlington Heights, Illinois, Spector had spent his entire career in England prior to Tuesday’s move. He turned professional with Manchester United in 2003, spending three years with the club before moving to fellow English Premier League (EPL) side West Ham United in 2006. In total, he has 101 EPL appearances and 153 in the Championship.
Spector, who can play as a center back, outside back and defensive midfielder, has 36 caps with the US national team. He played every minute of the USMNT’s run to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup final and was a part of the 23-man roster at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. His last appearance for the US came in October 2015.