USL's Orange County signs ex-Sounders player Alex Villanueva - sources

Former Seattle Sounders FC player Alex Villanueva has signed a multi-year contract with Orange County SC in the USL Championship, sources told ESPN.

The 19-year-old left back spent time in the Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders academies before making his first-team debut with the Sounders last season. He fielded interest from multiple MLS teams this offseason -- including a prolonged training stint with LAFC -- before deciding to make the move to OCSC, which won the USL Championship title last season.

Villanueva is strong on the ball and is comfortable playing as a left-wingback or midfielder. He could have remained in Seattle but was unlikely to see regular minutes with the Sounders and would have started the year with the Tacoma Defiance. The Defiance is making the move from USL to the new MLS Next Pro league this season.

With Orange County, Villanueva could be part of a backline that includes 17-year-old centerback Kobi Henry, who was called into the full United States national team camp in December, and USMNT veteran Michael Orozco. Earlier this offseason, the club also signed Erick "Cubo" Torres, the former Mexican international who was with Atlanta United in 2020 and 2021.