CINCINNATI -- USL "defender of the year" Forrest Lasso will remain with FC Cincinnati as the team debuts in Major League Soccer next year, the team announced Monday.
Lasso is the fifth player signed to the MLS FC Cincinnati. He joins forward Fanendo Adi and midfielders Fatai Alashe, Corben Bone and Emmanuel Ledesma.
"Being able to play in MLS has been something I've been trying to achieve since I started playing soccer, so for me, it is very satisfying," Lasso said. "There's been a lot of hard work over the years, and I had faith in myself that I would eventually get the opportunity. I'm grateful to the FC Cincinnati organization for giving me this chance and I couldn't be more excited to get ready for next year."
Lasso came to FC Cincinnati ahead of last season from the Charleston Battery. He had the most clearances in the league -- 223 -- and scored three goals, led the league's defenders in aerials won -- 172 -- and blocked 32 shots. He started in 28 out of 29 appearances and was voted league "defender of the year" last month for the second consecutive season.
"Forrest was a massive part of our team this past year and we feel he's earned a spot to play at the MLS level next season," head coach Alan Koch said. "While his potential has always been evident, Forrest's dedication to improvement each and every week played a key part in his fantastic season. We look forward to Forrest's continued growth and are eager to see him embrace the challenge of playing in MLS next year."