After strongly suggesting the news on Sounders Weekly last night, Garth Lagerwey and the Seattle Sounders officially announced the signing of Australian "left-sided player" Brad Smith from Bournemouth in the English Premier League using Targeted Allocation Money.
Smith has played the majority of his career at left back, however, according to Lagerwey, the club considers him a left-sided player who can factor into Seattle's attack for the remainder of the 2018 MLS season. ""We're not acquiring a left back. We're acquiring a left-sided player," Lagerwey said last night.
The Sounders released a statement today in which Lagerwey says, "At just 24 years old, Brad brings a wealth of experience from both the Premier League and his time with Australia at the international level. Combined with his background, Brad's significant speed and versatility on the flanks make our team immediately better for the stretch run of the season. We believe he can help our club continue its climb up the table and into the MLS Cup Playoffs."
Smith brings more international experience to the Sounders, factoring on the Australian National Team with 19 caps and 12 appearances in 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches.
"Brad is a good player with a strong background and a skill-set that we believe fits the style we want to play in the most important part of our season," Head Coach Brian Schmetzer said.
Chris Henderson, Seattle's Sporting Director and Vice President of Soccer, added, "When we became aware of Brad's availability through our staff and scouting network, it was a straightforward decision to bring him into our club....Anytime you can add someone entering the prime of their career with the type of background Brad brings to the table, it's only going to make your team stronger. Brad's reputation as a good pro, in addition to his speed, technical ability and proficiency at multiple positions are all strengths we're eager to utilize."
Smith, born in Penrith, Australia, moved to England as a teenager and joined Liverpool's youth program. Smith spent three years with Liverpool, including a one-year loan to Swindon Town, before joining Bournemouth in 2016, where he spent the last two seasons.
Smith will occupy the Sounders' final open International Roster Spot. Lagerwey, in discussing the advantages of loans last night, said, "We have to consider new markets and new deals that we didn't have access to before. Honestly doing a lot of business in England just didn't make a lot of sense. It's the highest paying league in the world. It was almost certainly inefficient. But when you talk about some of the young players in England and in that TAM category, all of a sudden those guys are available. And they're not available to buy because their buy-prices are still very, very high. But on loan, you can take some portion of a salary and you can make it work, at least for a discrete period of time."
Smith will be added to the Sounders' roster pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate.