BY SPNW Staff 03:09PM 12/29/2014

Sounders sign English defender Tyrone Mears

The Sounders Monday announced the signing of defender Tyrone Mears, an English veteran with 14 years of professional experience, who will be added to Seattle’s roster pending receipt of his P-1 visa and international transfer certificate. Mears, 31, made more than 200 appearances in England, most recently with the Bolton Wanderers from 2011-14.

“Tyrone is a player we had an opportunity to evaluate over the past summer when he trained with us in Seattle and we were very impressed with his pedigree,” said Sounders coach Sigi Schmid. “He’s a fullback that is solid defensively, with the ability to possess the ball and get forward in the attack. Tyrone is also a very good one-versus-one defender — a capability that is a key ingredient to success in our league — and we’re excited about his future with our club.”

In addition to English Premier League runs with Bolton, Burnley, Derby County and West Ham United, the English-born defender also played for French side Marseille during the 2008-09 season, helping the club to a quarterfinal appearance in the UEFA Cup.

“We’re excited to welcome Tyrone to Sounders FC,” said sporting director Chris Henderson. “His professional experience, athleticism and versatility on the backline make him a valuable player for our club heading into 2015.”

Mears, who has played centerback and fullback, is a product of Manchester City’s youth system, making his debut during City’s 2001-2002 campaign. He was transferred to Preston North End, where he made 70 appearances before moving to West Ham United for the 2006-07 EPL season.

After being loaned to Derby County in 2007, Mears helped the Rams gain promotion to the Premiership before injuries limited his playing time in 2007-08.

Following a short stint with Marseille in Ligue 1, he joined Burnley in 2009, where he made 82 appearances before moving on to Bolton in 2011. Mears made 28 appearances over three seasons for Wanderers, limited largely due to injury at the beginning of his tenure, before completing his stay at the Lancashire club in 2014.


  • RadioGuy

    Mears can run all game, moves the ball forward quickly and gets right on opposing forwards. At one time he was considered a rising star in the Premiership…when all the stars are aligned and he’s healthy (and motivated), he can help. On the other hand, Mears isn’t a finisher, weak on volleys and picks up plenty of fouls. Also injury-prone: He played only three matches last season and just 27 over three seasons at Bolton, a mediocre Championship team who cut him in the offseason.

    At best, he adds speed and depth to the Seattle backfield but I wouldn’t hold hopes too high for someone who did not play to expectations in England’s second-tier league (MLS, while improving, is largely Championship-level competition with some Premiership-level talent). Not knowing what Mears signed for, this is probably a low-risk move by the Sounders, who’ll be missing Yedlin and maybe Scott. Why not?

  • jafabian

    At age 31 Mears will probably be with the club for a couple years until someone is ready to move up from the U18 team. Until then he’ll hopefully bring a needed stability to the defense that was at times inconsistent more than it had a right to be last season.