German midfielder Christian Tiffert has been signed as a designated player, replacing Alvaro Fernandez, who was traded to the Chicago Fire for allocation money, the club said Friday afternoon.
Tiffert, 30, was captain of FC Kaiserslautern of the German Bundesliga and has more than 280 appearances in Germany’s top flight. Tiffert has 12 years of top level experience in Germany and Austria, and the offensive midfielder led Bundesliga with 17 assists in the 2010-11 season. He will be one of the Sounders’ three DPs.
“We were extremely impressed with Christian during his visit to Seattle,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said in a club statement. “His character and mentality fit well with the culture we have established within the organization, both on the field and in the locker room. We believe Christian will help us in our push towards the playoffs and beyond.”
The six-foot midfielder began his pro career in 2000 with Tennis Borussia Berlin. He joined VfB Stuttgart for six seasons where the team was Bundesliga runners-up in 2003 and German League Cup runners-up in 2005. With Stuttgart, Tiffert also won the 2000 and 2002 UEFA Intertoto Cup.
“We wanted to bring in a player who is a central midfielder and has playmaking capabilities,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “Christian is a player who fits this mold and brings a lot of experience from the top league in Germany. His leadership and versatility make him a good fit for our club.”
Tiffert joined Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg in 2006 and won the Austrian Bundesliga by 19 points, posting a plus-47 goal differential. Tiffert returned to Germany in 2007 and spent three seasons with MSV Duisburg before joining FCK in 2010.
A native of Halle, Germany, Tiffert made 24 appearances with the German U21 National Team from 2002-04.
Fernandez, 26, a member of the national team of Uruguay, joined the Sounders midway through the 2010 season. He scored 13 goals with three assists in 55 matches, starting 38. In 2011 he had nine MLS goals, second on the club, but production fell off in 2012 with just two goals.
Overall, Fernandez scored 16 goals and 10 assists in all competitions.
“We would like to thank Alvaro for his contributions to the club over the last two years and wish him well in the next chapter of his career with the Fire,” Hanauer said in a club statement.
Fernandez was capped 11 times by Uruguay and made four appearances in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
After a long layoff, the Sounders return to MLS action at 6 p.m. Saturday with a road match against the Colorado Rapids.