Edmonds-Woodway alum Sota Kitahara signed a first-team contract with the Seattle Sounders on Friday. (Sounders FC photo)

Edmonds-Woodway alum Sota Kitahara signed a first-team contract with the Seattle Sounders on Friday. (Sounders FC photo)

Edmonds-Woodway alum Sota Kitahara signs with Sounders

The 19-year-old midfielder has been with the Sounders since joining the Discovery Program in 2014.

SEATTLE — Sota Kitahara grew up in the Seattle Sounders FC organization. Now he’s climbed the team’s pinnacle.

Kitahara, an Edmonds-Woodway High School alum, signed a first-team contract with the team, the Sounders announced Friday. It’s a two-year deal with club options for 2025 and 2026.

Kitahara, a 19-year-old midfielder, has been with the Sounders since joining the team’s Discovery Program in 2014. He progressed through the team’s academy and advanced on to Seattle’s reserve team, the Tacoma Defiance, with whom he spent the past two seasons. in the recently-completed campaign he appeared in 15 games for Tacoma, including 13 starts, registering one goal and two assists as the Defiance reached the MLS NEXT Pro semifinals.

Kitahara is now one of 24 players under contract with the Sounders. He is the 20th homegrown player to sign with the first team.

“We are excited to have Sota sign with the first team,” Sounders sporting director Craig Waibel said in a press release. “Since joining the Sounders Discovery Program in 2014 he has shown continued improvement every year at all levels of our development pathway. I believe he will be an excellent addition to an already talented midfield.”

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