Tacoma Defiance announced the team’s roster decisions on Friday, just a few days after the Seattle Sounders announced the corresponding decisions for the First Team. When Tacoma’s season ended in the Western Conference Final against St. Louis CITY 2 back in early October, the team’s roster included 16 players signed directly to the MLS Next Pro team.
Three of those 16 players had their options exercised for the 2023 season - Wallis Lapsley, Travian Sousa and Hal Uderitz - while Juan Alvarez, Cody Baker and Stuart Hawkins are already under contract. That leaves six players signed to Defiance for 2023, although that likely would have been seven if not for Sota Kitahara signing an MLS contract.
Midfielder Adolfo Ovalle is still in discussions with the club, but eight other players will certainly not be returning next year. Randy Mendoza had his contract option declined, while Alfred Gombe-Fei and Georgi Minoungou both return to Czech club MFK Vyškov as their loans have expired.
Beyond those three, Joe Hafferty, Eric Kinzner, Achille Robin, Valentin Sabella, and Marlon Vargas are all out of contract. Add to that Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, who was signed to an MLS contract but played exclusively for Tacoma in 2022, had his contract option declined by the Sounders.
Tacoma Defiance will prepare for the next season without the top-4 players in minutes played for 2022 — and 5 of the top-6. The departures from both organizations only account for about 40% of the total minutes played by Defiance in 2022.
There will be signings in the coming months, and once again, plenty of minutes for players from the First Team.
Surely Wade Webber and his staff will also look for increased contributions from the Sounders Academy players who saw the field this season like Snyder Brunell and Etienne Veillard, as well as Michael Luande as the team enters the offseason with no forwards on the roster.
As it stands, here are the players currently signed to Tacoma Defiance:
CURRENT TACOMA DEFIANCE ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (1): Wallis Lapsley
DEFENDERS (3): Cody Baker, Stuart Hawkins, Hal Uderitz
MIDFIELDERS (2): Juan Alvarez, Travian Sousa
Dave’s Depth Chart has been updated.