Orlando City has signed American centerback Alex De John to a one-year contract, the club confirmed on Thursday.
De John, who was born in New Jersey, has spent the past two seasons with Swedish Allsvenskan side Dalkurd FF. He made 43 appearances across all competitions for Dalkurd over the last two seasons.
Prior to his stint with Dalkurd FF, De John played for clubs in Finland and Norway.
The 27-year-old New Jersey native played college soccer at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, before joining Central Spartans in the USL Premier Development League.
“Alex is an experienced defender who adds needed depth to our backline. He is a natural leader with solid experience in Europe and the U.S.,” said Orlando City SC EVP of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi in a statement. “We are thrilled to make this key signing at center back ahead of preseason, and know Alex will be a strong contributor to the game both in play and in aiding the development of young players we are bringing to the team.”
De John is the latest signing for a side looking to get younger. Plus, he’s an additional defender for the Lions, who are looking to bounce back after conceding a league-record 74 goals last season. The Lions finished last season 8-22-4 (28 points), the club’s worst finish in MLS.
Most of Orlando City’s offseason signings so far have been defenders. The club has added left back/ceneterback João Moutinho and fullbacks Danilo Acosta and Kyle Smith. The club’s other acquisitions in the offseason, other than De John, have been two forwards (Benji Michel and Tesho Akindele), a goalkeeper in Greg Ranjitsingh, and Ecuadorian midfielder Jhegson Sebastián Méndez.
So far, 13 players have been jettisoned from last season’s Orlando City roster.
City acquires 2020 pick from Minnesota
Orlando City also announced the team acquired Minnesota United’s natural 2020 second-round pick and the No. 4 spot in the waiver priority order in exchange for two 2019 fourth-round picks and the No. 1 waiver priority spot.
The Loons used the No. 1 spot to claim former Seattle Sounders captain Osvaldo Alonso.