FC Edmonton Defender Papé Diakité Named 2016 NASL Young Player Of The Year

Senegal native was third in interceptions and clearances in first NASL season

FC Edmonton defender Papé Diakité has been named the  2016 North American Soccer League (NASL) Young Player of the Year, which goes to the most outstanding player aged 23 and younger.

Diakité, 23, finished third in the league in interceptions (86) and clearances (134) as FC Edmonton clinched the No. 3 seed in The Championship, the league’s four-team postseason tournament.

“I think what makes him [FC Edmonton coach Colin Miller] believe in me is my hard work,” Diakité said. “I thank him because he brought me here and for helping me defensively – to match the run of the strikers. He’s done good things for me as a player like to grow up and how to get better.”

The Dakar, Senegal, native was not only a force on the back line in his 27 appearances (26 starts) and 2,313 minutes of league play, but he also contributed three goals for the Eddies during the year, two of which were game-winners. They were also the first goals of the central defender’s professional career.

Before joining FC Edmonton for the 2016 Spring Season, Diakité spent time in Slovakia and most recently in Belgium with Royal Antwerp.

“The first game of the season I was in the Team of the Week, it made me proud,” Diakité said. “It was one of my big moments in this league. I’m happy with what I’ve done.”

Previous Winners
2014: Christian Ramirez (Minnesota United)
2015: Leo Fernandes (New York Cosmos

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