ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (July 20, 2018) — The Tampa Bay Rowdies have signed defender Papé Diakité to strengthen their back line, the club announced Friday.
Diakité spent two seasons in North America with FC Edmonton in 2016 and 2017, so he should be familiar to many Rowdies fans.
"We're excited to sign Papé, given how experienced he is at his age," said Rowdies Chairman & CEO Bill Edwards. "Our defensive third will benefit with this signing as Papé will fit right in. We're focused on bringing the USL Cup to Tampa Bay and this signing will help us get closer to that achievement."
He played in 56 matches for the Eddies, anchoring one of the stingiest defenses in the league. He won the 2016 NASL Defender of the Year Award.
“Papé has been training with us for a few days now and he’s been very impressive,” Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins said. “He’s a big, strong defender that takes charge and communicates well. We’re a little low on defenders right now, and Papé is a great signing for us.”
Born in Senegal, Diakité began his career in Europe with Slovakian side AS Trenčín in 2011-12 and then Belgium’s Royal Antwerp FC from 2013 to 2015 before moving to Edmonton.
Diakité signed with Police Tero in Thailand earlier this year but did not feature in any games before departing.