MLS Soccer

CCL pairs Sounders with Vancouver, Olimpia of Honduras

Seattle Sounders FC will begin the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League grouped with familiar rival Vancouver and first-time opponent CD Olimpia of Honduras.

And the Sounders will do it with a new player available, as the club Monday announced the signing of midfielder Thomás Jaguaribe Bedinelli — a Brazilian known simply as “Thomás.”

Thomás, 22, has made 61 appearances from 2011-15 in Brazil’s professional leagues. His international paperwork is complete, and he has been added to the Sounders FC roster. He is expected to be at Sounders training Tuesday and will be eligible to play Saturday, when the team returns to Major League Soccer play at Sporting Kansas City.

“Thomás is a player we’ve been tracking for the past three years, and it’s rewarding to finally be able to welcome him to Sounders FC,” sporting director Chris Henderson said in a club press release. “His technical and attacking abilities are impressive, and he’ll mesh well with our current roster as we move into the second half of the 2015 season.”

The Sounders (8-3-2) stand atop MLS 13 games into their 34-game regular season. They will enter the U.S. Open Cup’s fourth round on June 16 against the Portland Timbers. And in August they will begin play in CCL: the championship of clubs from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

On Monday, a lottery draw placed them in Group F along with Olimpia, which qualified for its sixth CCL appearance as the 2014 Honduran Clausura champion; and the Whitecaps, 7-5-2 in this MLS season and entering CCL for the first time as the Canadian champion.

The tournament’s other 21 teams also were divided into seven other groups. The three teams in each group will play each other home and away with the top finisher advancing to the knockout rounds early next year.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808