The Seattle Sounders got the backup striker they’ve been targeting, officially announcing the acquisition of Héber in a trade with New York City FC on Thursday. The Sounders are giving up $200,000 in 2023 General Allocation Money, $200,000 in 2024 GAM and potentially $150,000 more if certain performance metrics are met. The 31-year-old no longer occupies an international roster spot, is signed through 2023 and has an option for 2024.
“We are excited to bring in Héber and strengthen our team with a proven, veteran attacking player,” Sounders General Manager Craig Waibel said in a team release. “Héber’s track record across multiple leagues speaks for itself, and he has been an impact player since coming to MLS. I’d like to welcome him to Seattle and look forward to watching him work with our existing squad once camp opens.”
Next Stop: Seattle— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) December 29, 2022
⬇️ @Heber__Araujo Highlights ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/Twx8hwqxrd
Héber burst onto the MLS scene in 2019 after a move from Croatia’s Rijeka, scoring 18 goals and adding four assists in about 1,700 all-competition minutes. But after a slow start in 2020, he suffered an ACL tear that kept him out for a calendar year. He scored just one goal in about 1,000 minutes spread between 2020-21. But he came back strong in 2022, contributing 11 goals and one assist in 1,375 all-competition minutes while playing mostly a reserve role.
Prior to joining NYCFC, Heber played in Brazil, Armenia and Croatia where he scored 85 goals, including one in UEFA Champions League.
“You always need players that can score, and Héber has been goal-dangerous throughout his entire career,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said in a team release. “I can’t wait for him to get to work with our coaches and his new teammates to add another strong piece to our attacking group.”
CURRENT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (4): Jacob Castro, Stefan Cleveland, Stefan Frei, Andrew Thomas
DEFENDERS (6): Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Xavier Arreaga, Abdoulaye Cissoko, Nouhou, Jackson Ragen, Alex Roldan
MIDFIELDERS (13): Josh Atencio, Reed Baker-Whiting, Léo Chú, Ethan Dobbelaere, João Paulo, Sota Kitahara, Danny Leyva, Nicolás Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, Kelyn Rowe, Albert Rusnák, Dylan Teves, Obed Vargas
FORWARDS (4): Héber, Fredy Montero, Jordan Morris, Raúl Ruidíaz