PLAYER OF THE MONTH | Eddies Defender Papé Diakité

Senegalese center back making major contributions at both ends for Eddies
NASL Staff | Jun 3, 2016

FC Edmonton is in the midst of one of its strongest starts since taking the field in the NASL in 2011, and among the many reasons for the club’s early-season success is the play of defender Papé Diakité.

The Dakar, Senegal, native was crucial at both ends of the field for the Eddies in the month of May, and the center back’s string of performances were so good that he was named NASL Player of the Month by the media.

Diakité, 23, tallied game-winning goals on two separate occasions last month, scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 road win over Jacksonville Armada FC on May 4 and the difference-maker in a 2-1 home win over the New York Cosmos on May 15. Both results helped FC Edmonton rise all the way to the top of the NASL Spring Season Standings – albeit for just a few hours – two weeks ago.

"It's a great honor for me and a relief after the first half of the season,” Diakité said. “I‘m really happy with this award, and it’s going to push me to look forward and work harder. I would like to thank my teammates and my head coach, Colin Miller, because without them I would never receive this award. I came here to win something with the team, and at the end, I believe we can achieve something.”

Since arriving in Alberta, Diakité has taken the league by storm, and it shows in the box scores. The 6-foot-4 defender leads the league in two defensive categories, clearances (68) and interceptions (37), and sits third in another, blocks (7).

“Papé has been a terrific signing for us," FC Edmonton head coach Colin Miller said. “He came very highly recommended and has played at a very high level. He played for Royal Antwerp, and has represented Senegal at the youth levels and under-23 levels. We knew we were getting a player with a very good pedigree and he has settled in well with our club. I’m delighted for him that he has received this award because he’s been a big part of what we have done as a team.”

Diakité has played every minute of every game for the Eddies this year, starting and going the distance in each of the club’s nine league encounters and two Amway Canadian Championship clashes. He joined the club prior to the start of the 2016 season, most recently featuring for Belgian side Royal Antwerp. He has also spent time playing at the professional level in Senegal with ASC HLM and Slovakia with Trenčín.

FC Edmonton has the weekend off before closing out the Spring Season at home against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on June 12. While the Eddies are out of the running for the Spring Season Championship, they currently sit in a good position, third place, as the league’s Combined Standings start to become more important. 

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