MLS Soccer

Sounders sign veteran defender from England

Seattle Sounders FC started rebuilding its backline Monday with the signing of longtime English defender Tyrone Mears.

Mears, 31, can play right back, where 2014 starter DeAndre Yedlin must be replaced, and central defense where Jalil Anibaba has departed, Zach Scott is facing off-season surgery, and Djimi Traore is considering retirement.

“He is a fullback that is solid defensively, with the ability to possess the ball and to get forward in the attack,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said through a news release. “Tyrone is also a very good one-versus-one defender — a capability that is a key ingredient to success in our league — and we’re excited about his future with our club.”

Mears made more than 200 professional appearances in England, including the last three seasons with the Bolton Wanderers of the second division. He also has played with Burnley, Derby County, West Ham United and Preston North End in England and with Marseille in the French first division. He came up through Manchester City’s youth system and made his pro debut there in 2001-02.

“His professional experience , athleticism and versatility on the backline make him a valuable player for our club heading into 2015,” sporting director Chris Henderson said through the news release.

Yedlin will transfer to Tottenham of the English Premier League next month, while Anibaba was taken by Orlando City in the expansion draft before being traded to Sporting Kansas City.

Mears is listed as 5 feet 11 and 163 pounds. He is a native of Manchester, England, and a citizen of the United Kingdom.

He will be added to the Sounders FC roster pending receipt of his international paperwork. Terms of the contract were not announced.

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