Sounders FC

Swedish midfielder Erik Friberg returns to Seattle Sounders

Swedish midfielder Erik Friberg is back for a second act with Seattle Sounders FC.

The club announced Friberg’s return Monday, although terms of the deal were not included. He will become eligible to play once the Major League Soccer international transfer window opens July 8 and pending completion of international paperwork.

That means Friberg won’t be available Friday when the Sounders return home to face MLS-leading DC United, but he could make his debut July 11 at Chicago.

“I would say it’s possible,” Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey said. “… You have three separate hurdles: obviously you have the transfer window opening July 8, you have to get the visa and you have to get the player pass. Is it possible before Chicago? It is. Is it likely? I just couldn’t tell you.”

Friberg joined the Sounders for the first time in 2011, when he made 26 appearances and 23 starts, recording one goal and two assists.

“He’s well-liked and respected within our organization from both a coaching and player perspective,” Lagerwey said. “I think he’s going to be a good fit, and a player who can make an impact in the short term and the long term. Also pretty versatile: He can play (all four midfield) spots, and I think as a result can really raise the competition level at midfield. That’s a good thing for everybody.”

After leaving Seattle, Friberg moved to Malmo FF of Sweden from 2012-13, and Bologna of Italy’s Serie A in 2013-14. Most recently he played for Esbjerg in the Danish first division.

“Erik is a smart tactical player (capable of good) forward passing,” Sounders sporting director Chris Henderson said in a press release. “He won a U.S. Open Cup championship with our organization, and after leaving Seattle he played in three strong European leagues.”

Friberg began his professional career in Sweden from 2005-2010 before moving to Seattle for the first time. He also has two appearances with the Swedish national team.

Lagerwey left the door open for additional moves.

“We’re going to keep all our options open,” he said. “But with the signings of Friberg, Thomás and Andy Craven, we have a full roster right now. That hardly means that you can’t do anything, you just have to move one in, one out from here forward. (Gonzalo Pineda and Marco Pappa) recently got their green cards, so we have their international spots available. We can make a roster spot with a disabled list move. And so it’s possible for us to do something. But whether we will or we won’t, that’s probably going to depend a lot on what we think our team looks like when we have our full team together.”


The Sounders have learned the dates of their Group F matches for the 2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League.

Seattle will begin Aug. 5 at the Vancouver Whitecaps, then return home to play CD Olimpia of Honduras on Aug. 19, make the return match at CD Olimpia on Aug. 26, and then conclude by playing host to the Whitecaps on Sept. 23. All matches have 7 p.m. starts.

Ticket and broadcast information will be announced later.

The tournament features eight groups of three teams, each meeting in home-and-away matches. The group winners advance to the knockout stage.