On Saturday morning, the Seattle Sounders announced the signing of Dutch right back Kelvin Leerdam, using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). The 27 year-old defender was born in Suriname before growing up and playing his professional career in the Netherlands.
With the MLS transfer window opening July 10, Leerdam will not be available for the Sounders on July 4th in Colorado or July 8 in a friendly against Eintracht Frankfurt. This means the first time fans will be able to see Leerdam will likely be at home on July 19 in an MLS match against D.C. United.
For the last four seasons, Leerdam has played with Vitesse in the Netherlands, scoring a total of 12 goals in the stretch, including a career-high eight in his first year with the club (2013-14). Leerdam's primary position is right back, however, gives the Sounders flexibility with time spent at the central and defensive midfielder positions.
According to reports, and from the highlights you can watch throughout this article, Leerdam is more of an attacking fullback on the right side with ability to play high and score, as seen in his first season with Vitesse. This strength in the attack compliments Joevin Jones on the left, giving the Sounders two dangerous fullbacks to help Clint Dempsey, Nico Lodeiro and Jordan Morris.
No doubt right back is a position the Sounders needed help at, fielding inconsistent lineups this season due to International duty call-ups and injuries. Most recently, it seemed that Brad Evans could be the rock at the spot, however, injuries have plagued the veteran of late, including the U.S. Open Cup loss to San Jose earlier in the week.
The move to sign Leerdam provides the team a consistent starter in the back four beside Roman Torres, Chad Marshall and Jones. It also allows the Sounders to utilize Cristian Roldan at his primary position of midfielder rather than at right back, where he has spent time this season when defenders are unavailable.
Sounders General Manager and President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer, plus Vice President and Sporting Director Chris Henderson have released quotes on the move.
Lagerwey: "Kelvin is an experienced player in the prime of his career with proven skill and athleticism. For our club, it's the kind of signing that is beneficial to both our short and long-term success. It's also a testament to growth of MLS that we can spend Targeted Allocation Money on players at wide positions. We're excited to welcome Kelvin to Seattle."
Schmetzer: "As a coach, it's always beneficial to be able to add a player like Kelvin to your team. He checks a lot of the boxes for our long-term plan and we believe he'll have the ability to provide competition in the squad, and make a contribution for the rest of this season and the future."
Henderson: "Kelvin has the speed, intelligence and technical ability to help our squad maintain a steady backline and transition smoothly into the attacking third. We've tracked Kelvin for a while now, and he's a proven veteran from a competitive European league with great potential to be an immediately impactful player in MLS."