Around MLS

Botafogo Midfielder João Paulo Transferred to Seattle Sounders

MIAMI, Fla. (February 5, 2020) —

On Friday, January 31, Seattle Sounders FC announced the signing of 28-year-old midfielder João Paulo Mior. The Brazilian playmaker joins the Rave Green after an illustrious career in Brazil, most recently with Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas and will now occupy one of the Sounders’ three Designated Player roster spots for the 2020 season.

Paulo, 28, from Serafina Corrêa in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, is a central midfielder who has spent his entire career in Brazil, making 36 appearances for the Rio de Janeiro side last season.

“We are pleased to announce Joao Paulo, a talented and versatile player that brings a lot of experience to our club,” Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey said in a club statement. “His signing adds a strong piece to an already talented roster, and we’re excited about the way our team is taking shape as the season approaches.”

Paulo takes over the MLS Cup champions’ final DP spot, alongside Uruguayan midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro and Peruvian star Raul Ruidiaz.

Beyond being the most notable winter signing under General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey, it’s the first time the Sounders have acquired a Designated Player during the offseason since Lagerwey took charge prior to the 2015 season. As the Sounders prepare a busy campaign beginning with a Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League match away to Club Deportivo Olimpia on February 20, having a strong, experienced roster will be paramount to achieving the club’s goals in 2020.   

The same day, Seattle also announced they have loaned midfielder Emanuel Cecchini to Argentine club Union de Sante Fe until the end of 2020.

Seattle Notes:

João Paulo will be Seattle’s No. 6 since Osvaldo Alonso left the team before the 2019 season. No one wore the No. 6 camiseta last year and Alonso had been the only player to don that number during the Sounders MLS era. Federal Way native Cirian O’Brien wore the No. 6 for the Sounders during their final USL season in 2008.

The number 6 shirt is traditionally worn by defensive midfielders.

João Paulo had worn the Nos. 5 and 17 shirts in his last two seasons at Botafogo. His being given the No. 6 may suggest how the Sounders intend to use the Brazilian.

“The coaching staff is always pleased to welcome talented players to our roster, and with João we are adding a versatile veteran with a track record of winning,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said in a team release. “He gives us options in the midfield, as well as some more vertical passing options in the initial build up, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he fits in with the rest of the squad.”

João Paulo is knonn for being a player who welcomes a challenge. He’s a former captain and someone who appears beloved by former teammates and fans.

Botafogo Acquire Honda

Botafogo later announced on Friday they had acquired veteran Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda on a free transfer. Honda’s last club was Vitesse in the Netherlands. He also played for CSKA Moscow, AC Milan and Mexico’s Pachuca.

Honda is considered one of Japan’s most successful players, having played in the last three World Cups. He scored 37 goals in 98 matches with the national team.

By Ken Russo

While my background is in the legal industry, the skills acquired and fine-tuned in law practice are now applied to focus on the sport of football. Russo Soccer aims to inform, educate and engage on news and relevant issues in the game.

Um advogado por formação, concentro meu trabalho nos negócios, comunicações e operações de equipes no futebol mundial. | Abogado con fundación avanzada en comunicaciones, enfocado en los negocios del fútbol y las comunicaciones. | Je suis un avocat experimenté dans les affaires de football.