Tacoma Defiance announced on Tuesday, following the Seattle Sounders’ first training, that they had signed 22-year-old Collin Fernandez. Signed as a HomeGrown Player by the Chicago Fire in 2015, Fernandez only ended up making three MLS appearances for a total of 14 minutes, but has played over 4,500 minutes in the USL Championship. He most recently played with St. Louis FC after spending a season and a half with Phoenix Rising.
Fernandez joins a Defiance central midfield group that includes Josh Atencio, Jesse Daley, Danny Leyva and Danny Robles, as well as a handful of academy and first-team guys who have spent time in one of the three positions. Fernandez is likely to spend the majority of his time in one of the double-pivot spots, vying for time primarily with Jesse Daley and Danny Leyva, which will be helpful as Leyva seems set to spend a fair amount of the season with the Seattle first team. While he seems able to play either as an 8 or a 6, his stats suggest that while he can contribute defensively, he’s not going to put up a high volume of tackles or interceptions. His passing is solid, averaging an 81.7% completion rate on just over 42 passes per 90.
While Fernandez joins the team as a young veteran with a wealth of professional experience, it’s worth noting that he’s around the same age as players coming out of the draft at 22 years old. Named to the USL 20 Under 20 list in 2017, there’s still the possibility that Fernandez grows into the potential that made the Fire sign him to his first pro deal at 17 and earned him looks from both US and Peru youth national teams. As it is, he’s still a quality addition and is poised to be a leader and contributor on a Defiance team that will be working to build on their 2019 season.