Tacoma Defiance announced on Thursday the addition of two former Sounders Academy players as the team continues to build its roster ahead of the 2023 season after not returning 8 players following the end of the 2022 season. Gio Migliette, 23, and Paul Rothrock, 24, both return to the Sounders organization after spending time with the Academy and making appearances with Sounders 2 as amateurs.
Gio Miglietti is a centerback who made the move to that position for his senior year at the University of Washington after having played primarily as a forward previously. According to Huskies Head Coach Jamie Clark, from Miglietti’s UW bio, “Gio is a hard-nosed player that can play any central position from target forward to central defender ... Once we find his best position, he’ll work tirelessly to make it his own.”
Miglietti garnered Pac-12 All-Conference Second Team honors in 2022, after being an honorable mention in 2021. Over his collegiate career he scored 19 goals and had 7 assists, including having his second most prolific season while playing as a CB in 2022 with 5 goals and 2 assists. Expect to see Miglietti using those forward’s instincts to capitalize on attacking set-pieces as Tacoma become more potent from those opportunities.
Paul Rothrock joined the Sounders Academy in 2016 and made one appearance with Sounders 2, scoring against Real Monarchs as a substitute on July 9, 2017. Rothrock played college soccer at Notre Dame and then Georgetown, where he was important part of Georgetown’s first NCAA Championship team in 2019. In 2021 Rothrock was drafted by Toronto FC before signing with TFC II. Playing in USL-1 in 2021, Rothrock made 12 appearances scoring 4 goals and 2 assists in 641 minutes. Moving with the team to MLS Next Pro, Rothrock was a standout putting up 8 goals and 5 assists in 1408 minutes across 19 appearances.
Rothrock impressed enough with TFC II, particularly as he put up 3 goals and 3 assists in the opening 5 games of the MLS Next Pro Season, that he got a brief look with the Toronto first team where he made two substitute MLS appearances for 33 minutes. Rothrock joining Defiance is an opportunity for him to come home after venturing out for college and the start of his career, which is likely a significant factor in his decision.
“I know he had options to choose from this offseason, but we are so excited he made the decision to join Tacoma Defiance for 2023,” Head Coach Wade Webber is quoted as saying in the team’s press release. “We look forward to helping him take his next step in the professional game.” Rothrock is a smart and skillful player who can slot in just about anywhere in the front six, a flexibility that will make him an asset for Webber and his staff. His professional experience should also be a boon to the younger players around him.
With Miglietti and Rothrock, the Defiance roster now features 11 players signed directly to the team. The squad features a distinctly local flavor, with Travian Sousa and Georgi Minoungou as players not having connections to the club or region prior to joining Tacoma.
Goalkeeper: Wallis Lapsley (25)
Defender: Cody Baker (19), Stuart Hawkins (16), Elias Katsaros (21), Gio Miglietti (23), Travian Sousa (21), Hal Uderitz (23)
Midfielder: Juan Alvarez (18), Chris Aquino (16), Georgi Minoungou (20), Paul Rothrock (24)