The Seattle Sounders acquired veteran Brazilian forward Heber from New York City FC on Thursday for at least $400,000 in General Allocation Money.
NYCFC can receive an additional $150,000 in GAM if certain performance metrics are met. Heber is under contract for 2023 with a club option for 2024.
The 31-year-old Heber recorded 24 goals and six assists in 70 matches (38 starts) over the past four seasons for NYCFC.
“We are excited to bring in Heber and strengthen our team with a proven, veteran attacking player,” Sounders general manager Craig Waibel said in a news release. “Heber’s track record across multiple leagues speaks for itself, and he has been an impact player since coming to MLS. I’d like to welcome him to Seattle and look forward to watching him work with our existing squad once camp opens.”
Heber spent nine-plus seasons in overseas leagues before joining NYCFC on a permanent transfer from Croatian club NK Rijeka in March 2019. He was an immediate force, scoring 15 regular-season goals in his first MLS campaign.
Heber played in just 12 games in 2020 as he tore the ACL in his right knee during a match against Toronto FC on Sept. 23, 2020. The recovery and rehab process limited him to seven regular-season matches in 2021.
NYCFC won the 2021 MLS Cup, but Heber saw action in just one of the four postseason matches. He did not play in the title-winning match against the Portland Timbers.
Last season, he scored eight goals in 29 matches (nine starts).
“I’d like to welcome Heber to Seattle and look forward to seeing him in preseason camp,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said in the news release. “You always need players that can score, and Heber has been goal-dangerous throughout his entire career. I can’t wait for him to get to work with our coaches and his new teammates to add another strong piece to our attacking group.”
Heber said he was sad to leave NYCFC but eager for a new opportunity.
“I love this Club and this City, since I arrived in 2019, I’ve felt completely at home,” Heber said through NYCFC. “Despite the ups and downs, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here for what we have been able to accomplish as a team. Being able to win trophies for New York City and its amazing fans is something I will always treasure.
“I would like to thank my teammates, the medical team and everyone at the Club for all the support you gave me while I was returning from injury. I couldn’t have done it without you and I now feel as fit and strong as ever. I am excited by the new challenge in Seattle and am very happy to be staying in MLS which is a league I now love. I will always remember my time in New York very fondly and it will always have a very special place in my heart.”
–Field Level Media