Sporting Kansas City announced Wednesday that the club has signed 28-year-old center back Andreu Fontas, a 10-year professional with more than 200 appearances in his native Spain.
Sporting KC used Targeted Allocation Money to sign Fontas, who has inked an MLS contract through 2022. He will be added to the Sporting KC roster and occupy an international spot pending a physical and receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa.
“Andreu is an experienced defender who strengthens our roster,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. “He has a lot of qualities we look for in a player, and we look forward to integrating him into the team as we prepare for the stretch run of the season.”
Fontas has spent each of the last five seasons with Celta Vigo in Spain’s top-flight La Liga, where he started 100 of 105 league appearances and helped the club to the semifinals of the 2016-17 UEFA Europa League. The defender developed in FC Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy alongside current Sporting KC midfielder Ilie Sanchez, playing nearly 100 matches combined for FC Barcelona B and FC Barcelona from 2008-2012.
Born and raised in the Catalonian city of Banyoles, Fontas joined La Masia in 2007 and earned his professional debut for Barcelona B in 2008 as an 18-year-old. He was a backline staple for the reserve team over the next three seasons, transitioning from a holding midfielder to a center back under the guidance of then head coach Luis Enrique, the current manager of the Spain Men’s National Team.
Fontas and Ilie became teammates ahead of the 2009-10 campaign, forging the spine of a Barcelona B side that gained promotion to the Spanish Segunda Division. Both players reprised leading roles as regular starters during the 2010-11 season, with Barcelona B sealing third place in the Segunda Division — tied for the team’s best finish ever.
In addition to scoring twice in 72 games for Barcelona B, Fontas played 16 matches for Barcelona’s senior team between 2009-2012. He debuted for the Spanish giants in August 2009 and made his first start for the club on Nov. 20, 2010, recording an assist in an 8-0 win over UD Almeria. On Dec. 7, 2010, Fontas marked his UEFA Champions League debut with the winning goal in a 2-0 triumph over Russian side Rubin Kazan. The following December, Fontas was a second-half substitute in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup Final — replacing legendary Spanish defender Carles Puyol — as Barcelona defeated Brazilian outfit Santos 4-0 with two goals from Lionel Messi.
While at Barcelona, Fontas trained with four past and present Sporting KC players. The defender is set to reunite with Ilie and current midfielder Cristian Lobato, having also competed with former Sporting KC midfielders Oriol Rosell and Jordi Quintilla.
Barcelona loaned Fontas to first-division club Mallorca for the 2012-13 season before he signed with Celta Vigo in June 2013. In his first two seasons, Fontas started 70 of 71 matches as the Celticos earned consecutive top-half finishes in La Liga. The center back helped Celta Vigo reach even greater heights in 2016-17, when the team advanced to the semifinals of the UEFA Europa League for the first time and lost to eventual champion Manchester United. Fontas played in eight Europa League matches that season, scoring in a 2-2 group stage draw against Dutch powerhouse Ajax.
Fontas played in 16 competitive matches for Celta Vigo during the 2017-18 season. He joins Sporting KC after totaling 121 appearances for the club in all competitions.
On the international stage, Fontas represented Spain at the U-19, U-20 and U-21 levels. He helped the Spain U-20s win the 2009 Mediterranean Games in Italy before appearing in all three group stage victories at the 2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt. The following year, he featured in a successful qualifying campaign for the 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, a tournament in which Spain were eventually crowned champions.
Fontas then went on to collect four senior caps for the Catalonia Men’s National Team, the official soccer team of the Spanish autonomous community of Catalonia. He most recently appeared in Catalonia’s 3-3 draw against Tunisia in December 2016.
Sporting Kansas City also announced Wednesday that the club has mutually agreed to part ways with defender Emiliano Amor. The 23-year-old defender started three of five MLS appearances this season while on loan from Argentine club Velez Sarsfield.
Transaction: Sporting Kansas City (MLS) signs defender Andreu Fontas using Target Allocation Money and mutually agrees to part ways with defender Emiliano Amor.
Andreu Fontas (ahn-DRAY-oo)
Born: 11/14/1989 (28 years old)
Weight: 190 lbs.
Hometown: Banyoles, Spain
Birthplace: Banyoles, Spain
Previous club: Celta Vigo (Spain)