2004 Apr 5

From today's Sounders news release:

Sounders sign a top all-time MLS goal scorer, "Welton" looks to bolster offense

(Seattle, Wash.) - - The Seattle Sounders announced today the signing of international soccer player Welton Melo, pending international clearance from US Soccer. Simply known to soccer fans as "Welton," the Brazilian forward brings a big kick to the Sounders' offense.

Born in Cambuci, Brazil, Welton began his professional career at the age of 19 in Rio de Janeiro with Fluminense in 1994. In 1995 Welton split the season with Flamengo and América, two teams also in the Rio de Janeiro area.

In 1996 Welton made his United States and Major League Soccer (MLS) debut with the New England Revolution. Welton recorded 12 points that season with three goals and six assists and was the youngest person voted to an MLS All-Star team.

Welton was traded by the Revolution to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1997 for a 1998 MLS Draft pick. His two seasons with the Galaxy in 1997 and 1998 would end up being his greatest professional seasons.

After the 1997 season, Welton led the team in scoring with 11 goals and four assists, and finished 12th in league with 26 points.

The 1998 season was a career year, Welton finished the season among the league's top ten in goals, assists and points. Welton was ranked third in points with 45, fifth in goals with 17 and seventh in assists with 11. In 1998, Welton joined the 10-10 club with at least 10 goals and 10 assists in one season. In an amazing six-match stretch during the season Welton recorded 19 points (seven goals, five assists). His performance throughout the season earned him his second MLS All-Star selection.

In 1999 Welton headed back to the east coast to play for the MLS Miami Fusion in a three-way trade involving the Galaxy and New York – New Jersey MetroStars. That season he played in 29 matches totaling 23 points with eight goals and seven assists. After only 20 matches with Miami, Welton became the Fusion's third All-Time goal scorer. When the 1999 season ended Welton became the 12th player in MLS history to record over 100 career points. The 2000 season with Miami was Welton's final MLS season.

Welton's MLS career includes: two MLS All-Star selections, a member of the 30-30 club (at least 30 career goals and assists) and was selected as the 1997 July MLS Player of the Month. In MLS play, Welton scored a total of 43 goals and had 34 assists in just five seasons, and is still among the all-time MLS leading goal scorers.

Joining the former A-League Pittsburgh Riverhounds in 2001, Welton played 2106 minutes in 25 matches, scoring six goals along with eight assists. Welton helped the Riverhounds advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup, scoring two goals in five Open Cup matches. Welton was selected to the Team of the Week, the week of September 9, 2001, for a two-goal performance in a 3-1 win over the Cincinnati Riverhawks.

Taking a year off in 2002, Welton traveled to Europe to play in 2003. Welton suited up for Fredrikstad FK, a Norwegian First Division team. He scored 8 goals and had 4 assists with Fredrikstad in an injury shortened season.

"We look forward to having the skills and accomplishments of Welton complementing our talented team," said Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. "We believe he can make an immediate impact and will score 10 plus goals for us this season."

Welton will join the Sounders in mid-April as the Sounders prepare for their season opener on May 1st against Portland on the road.

Welton with the Miami Fusion.

Welton as a 1996 MLS All-Star.

For more information about Welton, the Sounders 2004 schedule, or the remaining preseason matches please visit www.seattlesounders.net or call 206.622.3415.