TACOMA, WASH. – Tacoma Defiance today announced that it has signed midfielders Antonio Herrera and Frank Daroma to MLS NEXT Pro contracts. Financial terms were not disclosed. Herrera comes to Tacoma directly from the Sounders FC Academy, while Daroma joins following a pair of seasons with USL Championship side Las Vegas Lights FC.
“We are happy to see Antonio progress within our development side from our Sounders Discovery Program, then into our Academy and now to Tacoma Defiance,” said Vice President of Player Development Henry Brauner. “He has shown in competition and training that he is ready for the next step in his development as he starts his professional career. We are also excited to bring Frank into the club, a talented player who has ample professional experience with Las Vegas. Our scouting department has followed and tracked Frank since his youth playing days in Santa Barbra and we are excited to finally be able to work with him in our environment. We can’t wait to see how both players adapt to the demand of being in the Sounders organization and hope they can continue their progress within our club.”
Herrera, 18, joined Sounders Academy in 2017, most recently appearing in 12 matches for the U-17s during the 2021-2022 season, as well as one match on the bench for Defiance as an amateur. He appeared in eight matches (all starts) during the Academy’s title-winning U-17 Generation adidas Cup championship last year, tallying a goal against Charlotte FC.
“Antonio’s progress over the past 12 months has been a pleasure to watch,” said Tacoma Defiance Head Coach Wade Webber. “Full credit should go to Steve Cooke, Xavi Bravo and the entire Academy staff for their work with Antonio to help him reach this stage. He plays with tremendous self-belief and has a willingness to take on opponents and create for himself and others that we look forward to helping him further develop. He impressed during his time with the First Team this preseason, but now he has to embrace the work that comes with being a professional. We are excited to have him take the next step and join Tacoma Defiance.”
Daroma, 21, started 57 of 64 appearances for Las Vegas Lights FC over the 2021-2022 USL Championship campaigns. During his lone collegiate season for CSU San Bernadino, he tallied four goals and five assists in 19 appearances, earning California Collegiate Athletic Association Freshman of the Year, All-CCAA First Team, United Soccer Coaches All-Region First Team and USC All-American honors. Prior to his time with the Coyotes, the Sierra Leone native spent the 2018-2019 season with the Barça Academy in Arizona.
“We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Frank to Tacoma,” said Webber. “He is someone we have monitored since we first played against him in 2021, but our recruitment department has known about him even longer than that. His performances in midfield for Las Vegas Lights FC were consistently impressive. He is technically sound, quick and makes good decisions with the ball. He is also a willing worker defensively and we think he has instincts and qualities as a more advanced midfielder that could be very interesting. We look forward to helping him take the next step in his professional career.”
The moves bring Tacoma’s roster to 13 players as the club continues preparations for its second MLS NEXT Pro season.
TRANSACTION: Tacoma Defiance signs midfielders Antonio Herrera and Frank Daroma to MLS NEXT Pro contracts on January 27, 2023.
Full Name: Antonio Herrera
Hometown: Tacoma, Washington
Date of Birth: January 7, 2005 in Tacoma, Washington
Nationality: United States
Acquired: Signed on January 27, 2023
Full Name: Frank Daroma
Hometown: Goleta, California
Date of Birth: April 12, 2001 in Freetown, Sierra Leone
Nationality: Sierra Leone
Acquired: Signed on January 27, 2023