Tacoma Defiance add two new players to the squad

The Defiance roster currently has 18 players.
Whitecaps FC 2 v St Louis City 2
Whitecaps FC 2 v St Louis City 2 / Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/GettyImages

Tacoma Defiance has signed two new players: goalkeeper Lars Helleren and defender Owen O’Malley. After leading Ballard FC to the 2023 USL League Two title, Helleren joins Sounders FC's MLS NEXT Pro team. O'Malley also joins the club, having played for St. Louis CITY2 last season after his college career at Creighton.

"We are excited to be able to bring players like Lars and Owen into our Defiance group. Lars, being local, is certainly someone we have kept track of over the years and we have been impressed by his steady growth and maturity as a goalkeeper. Owen is comfortably two-footed, aggressive, and brings a measure of assurance in possession, but with an eye for passes that account for gaps and lines not many others readily see. He has tremendous potential and we are delighted to have him."

Wade Webber, Director of Development

Lars Helleren

Helleren, a 25-year-old goalkeeper, has joined Defiance from Colorado Rapids 2, where he made one appearance in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season. Prior to that, he played for Ballard FC, a USL League Two team based in Seattle, and started 14 games, including the final that they won 2-1 over Lionsbridge FC last year.

Before starting his professional career, Helleren played for Seattle Pacific University in 67 games and achieved a 1.14 average of goals conceded, which earned him a place in the 2022 First Team All-GNAC and a United Soccer Coaches Third Team All-American award. The goalkeeper, who grew up in Edmonds, Washington, also represented the local development club Crossfire Premier before joining SPU.

Owen O’Malley

O’Malley, a 22-year-old defender, joins Tacoma from St. Louis CITY SC, who picked him ninth overall in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft. He played 14 games (seven as a starter) for St. Louis CITY2 last season, logging 733 minutes.

O’Malley started his career as a defender for North Carolina FC Academy. Before joining St. Louis, he was a player for Creighton University, where he played in 52 games (39 as a starter) from 2020 to 2022. He helped the Bluejays reach the 2022 NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Semifinals and scored eight goals and five assists in 2022. He was named to the 2022 Big East All-Conference First Team.

MLS Next Pro Season

Defiance was the runner-up in the Western Conference last season and has won the Pacific Division two years in a row.

Defiance kicks off its third MLS NEXT Pro campaign away from home with a repeat of the previous year's Western Conference Semifinals versus Austin FC II on Friday, March 15 at Parmer Field.

The home opener for Tacoma will be at Starfire Stadium on Sunday, March 24, when they host Colorado Rapids 2.

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