Seattle Sounders

Osvaldo Alonso retires after 15 years in MLS, 10 of those seasons with the Seattle Sounders

Osvaldo Alonso was never a star in the traditional sense despite being one of the most feared players in Major League Soccer during his 15-year career.

A four-time MLS All-Star and Seattle’s all-time leader in appearances during the MLS era, Osvaldo retired Thursday after signing a ceremonial one-day contract with the Sounders.

Nicknamed “The Honey Badger” for his aggressive style of play, Alonso was one of the top defensive midfielders during his career even though he rarely scored goals. Alonso spent 10 seasons in Seattle and was one of the original team members when the Sounders joined MLS as an expansion franchise in 2009.

“I feel grateful for all of the love that I’ve received throughout my career with the Sounders. For me this is the club I belong to,” Alonso said. “So it’s always important for me not only to come here but to retire as a Sounder.”

Alonso appeared in 339 games with the Sounders and played a key role in winning six major trophies during his tenure in Seattle. Most notable was 2016, when Seattle was at the bottom of the Western Conference standings in the middle of the summer and the team underwent a coaching change.

After Brian Schmetzer took over as the interim head coach, one of his first moves was installing Alonso as the captain. The Sounders went on to cap that season by winning the first of its two MLS Cup titles.

“Team needed something so I made him captain right away. Why did I do that? Because I had respect and respect for who he was, how he played. I knew he could lead by example,” Schmetzer said.

Alonso also played for Minnesota United and Atlanta United after his departure from Seattle following the 2018 season. He missed most of the 2022 season after suffering a torn ACL, but returned to appear in seven games last season.

Alonso’s professional career started in 2008 with the Charleston Battery in the USL after he defected from Cuba. He joined the Sounders the following year for their inaugural season.

“To do what I did was amazing for me. I’m very proud,” Alonso said.