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Josh Atencio signs extension through 2027

Atencio will likely end up being classified as a U22 Initiative player, which will reduce his cap hit to $200,000.

Last Updated
2 min read
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

While most of the attention this offseason has been on players coming and going, one of the bigger priorities needed to be signing some younger guys in the final years of their contracts to extensions. Near the top of the list was Josh Atencio, who is currently with the United States men’s national team, and was in the final year of his initial Homegrown Player contract.

On Thursday, the Sounders took care of that bit of business, signing the 21-year-old to a new contract that guarantees him through 2027 with an option year for 2028.

“We are excited to have Josh continue his playing career here in Seattle,” Sounders General Manager Craig Waibel said in a press release. “He has earned this contract with his play over the years, and we think he has a bright future ahead of him. I look forward to seeing Josh continue to grow and develop as a professional.”

Sounders salary cap position
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Although it was not part of the announcement, Sounder at Heart has also confirmed that Atencio will likely end up occupying a U22 Initiative spot. That will allow Atencio to hit the salary cap at just $200,000 through the end of his contract, virtually regardless of how much he’s actually making. The Sounders will still have one more unoccupied U22 spot on their roster, after unlocking two additional spots with the impending signing of Pedro de la Vega as a Young DP.

The numbers really love Josh Atencio
There are probably reasons Atencio hasn’t gotten more minutes, but the numbers suggest he should be getting a lot more run.

Long considered a top prospect, Atencio was able to establish himself as a regular starter down the stretch last year. The midfielder proved to be a very effective partner for João Paulo, showing an impressive defensive range and passing ability. He also finished among the league leaders in tackles won per 90 (2.56 per 90), aerials won (2.20) and tackls+interceptions (5.21).