Already at their largest ever roster heading into a USL season Tacoma Defiance are continuing to grow with three more signings from the college ranks. The recent signings will mean more training sessions with full 11 v 11, depth on game day during injury, international duty (both the U17 and U20 World Cup are this year), and when Sounders Academy signings are playing down. Today’s announcements puts the current squad at 19, which can still be bolstered by players from the first team and the academy.
Both Aleks Berkolds and Joel Rydstrand were drafted by Seattle Sounders in 2019 and the MLS club will retain their MLS rights up until December of 2020. Left back Matt Nance was undrafted after a college career at the Big East’s Xavier.
Rydstrand is a defensive midfielder out of Uppsala, Sweden by way of Creighton University. He played 88 minutes in Sounders preseason and has been training with Defiance since the first team returned from Arizona. He is in a crowded defensive midfield where he will be competing for time with Jesse Daley, Danny Leyva, Josh Atencio and Ben Numbi.
Berkolds is a centerback who played for San Diego State University, which plays in the Pac-12. Aleks played 69 minutes in the MLS preseason, including a brief appearance against Nacional. He is one of three centerbacks on the Tacoma roster at this time. With Sam Rogers currently injured Berkolds will get to make a name for himself, possibly as early as the home opener on March 8 (7 p.m.; ESPN+).