Tacoma Defiance signs two players drafted in the last MLS Super Draft

Kalani Kossa-Rienzi and Antino Lopez will join Tacoma Defiance after consistent time with the Seattle Sounders in the preseason.

Dec 10, 2021; Cary, NC, USA; Washington midfielder Kalani Kossa-Rienzi (6) dribbles in front of
Dec 10, 2021; Cary, NC, USA; Washington midfielder Kalani Kossa-Rienzi (6) dribbles in front of / William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

Tacoma Defiance has signed midfielder Kalani Kossa-Rienzi and defender Antino Lopez. The two players were drafted by Seattle in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft in December and participated in Sounders FC's preseason camp in Marbella, Spain before joining Tacoma.

Kalani Kossa-Rienzi

Kossa-Rienzi, a 21-year-old midfielder, was selected by Seattle in the first round of the draft with the 23rd pick. He played for four seasons at the University of Washington, where he scored six goals and assisted 11 more in 76 games (68 as a starter).

The Berkely, California native had an assist in his debut game against Northwestern University, then scored two goals and assisted three more in his sophomore year. The midfielder earned a spot on the Pac-12 All-Conference First Team as a junior and senior, as well as a United Soccer Coaches All-Far West Region Second Team honor after his junior year.

As a sophomore, Kossa-Rienzi contributed to the Huskies' runner-up performance in the Pac-12 and their appearance in the NCAA National Championship game. He then helped them secure the conference title as a junior and reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

During the preseason with the Sounder, Kossa-Rienzi played consistently as right back.

Antino Lopez

A former Sounders FC Academy product, Lopez, 21, was drafted with 52nd overall pick by Seattle in this year’s MLS SuperDraft. He appeared in 66 matches (65 starts) over four seasons at Duke, tallying three goals and three assists. As a freshman in 2020, the defender played in all 16 games and made the All-ACC Freshman Team.

The Las Vegas native helped Duke win the ACC quarterfinal against Wake Forest with an assist in 2021, when he was a sophomore. The next year, as a junior, he earned a spot on the All-ACC Third Team, while Duke topped the ACC Coastal Division. Lopez had a productive senior year in 2023, scoring two goals and assisting one more. He also earned his second consecutive All-ACC Third Team selection.

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.