Houston Dynamo FC announced today they have reached an agreement with defender Ethan Bartlow on a contract extension through the 2025 MLS regular season with a club option for 2026.
The 23-year-old has been a regular presence on the field this season and has tallied 32 appearances and 23 starts in all competitions this season.
Bartlow has played key minutes in Houston’s resurgence this year, contributing to the club’s first postseason berth since the 2017 campaign, a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship, and a Round of 16 appearance in the inaugural League’s Cup, in which the Dynamo defeated perennial Mexican powers CF Pachuca and Santos Laguna.
“Ethan is a promising young defender who played a significant role in the club’s resurgence this season,” Dynamo general manager, Pat Onstad said. “The objective in the last couple winters was to set a new foundation for the sporting identity of the club. Now, we are shifting into a phase where we want to solidify that foundation by re-signing key contributors like Ethan who can sustain and build upon this year’s success. We are thrilled to continue working with Ethan and look forward to his continued growth in Houston.”
Bartlow played a significant role in the MLS regular season and the club’s qualification for the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. He helped the team tally seven clean sheets as a starter, and he earned his first assist on Sept. 23 against Sporting Kansas City. The centerback has the second most blocked shots on the team with 17 and second most clearances with 102.
He also contributed to the club’s 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship, the club’s first trophy since 2018. He appeared in five of Houston’s seven matches in the competition, including an appearance off the bench to secure a 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake in the semifinals. The Woodinville, Wash. native helped Houston qualify to the Concacaf Champions Cup in 2024 and helped the team advance to the Round of 16 in the 2023 Leagues Cup.
"I am really excited to remain in Houston and keep building on the success we’ve had this season. I'm also grateful for the faith and trust from the technical staff,” Bartlow said. “We're building something great, and this is the first time since I've been here that you see everything come together. I am obviously excited for the playoffs and we're going to keep improving and make a run."
The defender started his Houston Dynamo FC career with the club’s MLS NEXT Pro side, logging a 90-minute shift in a 1-0 victory over Whitecaps FC 2 on March 26, 2022. Seven days later he made his MLS debut as a starter in Houston’s 3-1 victory on the road over Inter Miami CF. He has since gone on to earn 42 appearances and 30 starts for the Dynamo in regular season play.
Bartlow was drafted from the University of Washington with the sixth overall pick in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 21, 2021. He signed a Generation adidas contract prior to the draft and he was also the first Husky to ever win Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He was a Second Team All-American in 2019 and led the team to a 17-4 record with 12 shutouts that season. He also earned three caps with the U.S. U-17 Boy’s National Team prior to his collegiate career.
The team returns to action this Saturday on the road against Portland Timbers FC as they look to secure homefield advantage in the opening round of the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. Along with FC Cincinnati, Houston is one of only two MLS clubs eligible to win two major trophies in 2023.