Austin FC have announced the signing of midfielder Felipe Martins as a free agent.
The 31-year-old Brazilian had been without a club since leaving DC United at the end of last season and has signed in Texas through 2022 with an option for a further year.
Crucially, Felipe has been added to Austin's supplemental roster, meaning his salary won't count against the club's cap.
“Felipe is a natural leader with a competitive spirit that will have a really positive impact on our team,” Austin FC sporting director Claudio Reyna said in a club statement. “His work in pre-season has been great and we know he’ll be a strong addition to our Club culture as we continue to grow and improve.”
Felipe has been counted among the best box-to-box midfielders in MLS over the past 10 years since joining from Swiss side FC Lugano in 2012. The Brazilian has notched up 280 regular-season appearances during that time across spells with CF Montreal, New York Red Bulls, Vancouver Whitecaps, and DC United, scoring 25 goals and assisting another 33.
Between 2013 and 2015, Felipe won two Canadian Championships with CF Montreal and a Supporters' Shield with the Red Bulls.
In a statement, Felipe promised to put his best foot forward when representing Austin FC in the local community and on the pitch.
“I want to thank everyone at Austin FC, especially Claudio, Josh and the rest of the technical staff — some of whom I’ve had the great pleasure to play with over the years,” he said. “Austin have a clear objective which is bring an MLS Cup to this city that lives and breathes soccer. But to get there we need to show up every day and prove ourselves.
“Everything I’ve seen, from the training facility, to the stadium, to the way we train and work is rare and inspiring. We have no excuse to not succeed and we need to give everything we have. I’m here to help us get to where we want to be and to play and represent this team and this community in the best way possible. It’s important to make everyone that supports Austin FC proud.”
Austin finished 12th in the Western Conference during their debut MLS campaign, winning just nine of their 34 games. However, Josh Wolff's side showed promise in patches and laid strong foundations for the 2022 campaign, which Austin begin at home to FC Cincinnati on February 26.