Sota Kitahara was announced as the Seattle Sounders’ 20th-ever Homegrown Player signing on Friday, the first of two expected additions from the Tacoma Defiance. The 19-year-old Edmonds native first joined the Sounders’ Discovery Program in 2014 and signed with the Defiance in 2020. This is a two-year deal with options for 2025 and 2026.
“[Kitahara] has shown continued improvement every year at all levels of our development pathway,” Senior Vice President of Soccer Operations & Sporting Director Craig Waibel said in a statement. “I believe he will be an excellent addition to an already talented midfield.”
Of the 24 players now under contract with the Sounders, eight came through the academy.
Kitahara’s path to the First Team was a bit different than the others, as it included a loan to Austrian third-division team FC Pinzgau Saalfelden. Kitahara has played a variety of roles during his various stops, but seems most likely to settle into an already crowded central midfield. It would seem that he’ll be a candidate to spend at least part of 2023 on loan, perhaps to a USL Championship team.