San Jose Earthquakes sign midfielder Carlos Gruezo as Designated Player

Chris Smith
Gruezo returns to MLS following a previous spell with FC Dallas.
Gruezo returns to MLS following a previous spell with FC Dallas. / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

Carlos Gruezo has completed his return to Major League Soccer, signing as a Designated Player (DP) with the San Jose Earthquakes.

The Ecuador international midfielder has signed a three-year deal through the 2025 MLS season with a club option on 2026, joining fellow midfielder Jamiro Monteiro and Argentine winger Cristian Espinoza as the Quakes' third DP.

Gruezo reunites with head coach Luchi Gonzalez after the pair worked together at FC Dallas for half a season in 2018, with the 27-year-old playing 93 games for the club in total across just over three campaigns.

"Carlos joins us in the prime of his career after successful campaigns in South America, Major League Soccer, and Europe," Earthquakes general manager Chris Leitch said in a club press release. "He’s spent the past few seasons in one of the top leagues in the world and previously showed he can be among the best players at his position in MLS."

Guezo left MLS in mid-2019, returning to Germany - where he previously represented Stuttgart - to join Augsburg in a $4.5m transfer, but only after winning Supporters' Shield and US Open Cup titles with FC Dallas in 2016.

The midfielder's career started with spells at Ecuadorian sides Independiente del Valle and Barcelona SC.

At international level, Gruezo brings 47 caps of experience with Ecuador to the Quakes roster, including featuring at the 2014 and 2022 World Cups.

"Obviously I know Carlos from his time in Dallas. I had a good relationship with him but only had a chance to work with him for a few months because he was transferred to Germany," Gonzalez said in a release.

"I have a lot of respect for him. He’s a hard worker and has the obvious tools in terms of ball recovery and intensity. To me, it’s a position we need competition, we need leadership, and we need experience. With his signing, I think we have a midfield that can compete with the best in the league."