Orlando City announced this afternoon the signing of 27-year-old central defender Alex De John to a one-year contract. A native of Marlboro, NJ, De John is a domestic player and won’t take up an international spot.
“Alex is an experienced defender who adds needed depth to our back line. He is a natural leader with solid experience in Europe and the U.S.,” Orlando City SC Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations Luiz Muzzi said in a club release. “We are thrilled to make this key signing at center back ahead of preseason, and know Alex will be a strong contributor to the game both in play and in aiding the development of young players we are bringing to the team.”
De John attended Old Dominion University in Virginia from 2009 to 2012 before joining the Central Spartans of the USL Premier Development League. After one year in the PDL, De John moved to Finland, where he first joined Ekenäs IF and then Turun Palloseura in 2014. He made 34 total appearances for Turun Palloseura during that season, recording three goals and two assists.
In 2015, De John moved to Norway, where he joined IK Start, making 41 appearances in two seasons in the Norwegian first division, scoring one goal. In 2017, De John moved to Sweden where he joined Dalkurd FF, making 20 appearances and scoring one goal in the club’s second division, helping the team get promoted into the Allsvenskan. Last season he made 43 appearances for the club, scoring twice.
In total, De John made 125 appearances while in Europe, recording seven goals and two assists over six seasons.
What This Means for Orlando City
To say that Orlando City needed a center back would be an understatement. This off-season has seen club captain Jonathan Spector and regular starter Amro Tarek depart the club, leaving Carlos Ascues, Shane O’Neill, and Lamine Sané as the only natural center backs in the team. De John will provide that added depth to the back line prior to preseason which will allow for the center backs to work together before the start of the season. That will be helpful as proven last year when Sané was signed just prior to the season, which may have contributed to some miscommunication between center backs.
Here is some video of what De John can bring to Orlando City: