Pair of Sounders FC Academy products join third-division Austrian club through 2021 calendar year
SEATTLE, WASH. – Sounders FC today announced that it has loaned forward Alfonso Ocampo Chavez and Tacoma Defiance midfielder Sota Kitahara to FC Pinzgau Saalfelden of the Regionalliga Salzburg, the Austrian third division. The pair of Sounders FC Academy products are set to join Pinzgau through the 2021 calendar year.
“It can often be beneficial to a young player’s development to step outside their comfort zone and compete in an alternative environment,” said Sounders FC General Manager & President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey. “Alfonso and Sota are a couple of young players we’ve had in our club for a while now, and we’re looking forward to seeing how they perform abroad.”
Ocampo-Chavez, 19, signed with the First Team on May 1, 2019 following one season with Tacoma Defiance and a prolific career with Sounders FC Academy, where he helped the U-17s to the club’s first-ever USSDA National Championship. He also was a part of the U-17 side that won the Champions Division at the 2019 Generations adidas Cup (a first for a MLS organization). A mainstay for the U-17 U.S. Youth National Team, Ocampo-Chavez scored four goals in a run to the finals at the U-17 Concacaf Championships and made two appearances at the U-17 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, alongside Sounders FC teammates Ethan Dobbelaere and Danny Leyva. The Merced, California native has started seven of 10 appearances with two goals for Tacoma Defiance in 2021, but has yet to make an appearance for the First Team this season.
Kitahara, 18, signed a USL contract in December of 2020 after appearing in 14 contests for Defiance as an Academy player in 2019. The Edmonds, Washington native has started eight of 11 contests for Tacoma up to this point in the 2021 USL Championship campaign.
Following a weekend off from MLS action, first-place Sounders FC (8-0-5, 29 points) hits the road to face Minnesota United FC (4-5-3, 15 points) on Sunday, July 18 at Allianz Field (11:00 a.m. PT / ESPN, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM). The Rave Green’s last result, a 2-0 win over Houston on July 7, set a new league record with 13 matches unbeaten to start a season, as well as matching the club record for longest unbeaten streak at any point.
Tacoma Defiance’s previously scheduled match on Saturday, July 17 at Oakland Roots SC has been postponed and rescheduled for Wednesday, September 15 (7:00 p.m. PT / ESPN+). Wade Webber’s side now returns home for a four-match home stretch at Cheney Stadium, beginning with San Diego Loyal SC (6-4-3, 21 points) on Thursday, July 29 (7:00 p.m. PT / ESPN+). The two sides previously met this season on May 13, with Tacoma earning a 3-1 home win.
TRANSACTION: Sounders FC loans forward Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and Tacoma Defiance midfielder Sota Kitahara to FC Pinzgau Saalfelden through the 2021 calendar year on July 16, 2021.