RENTON, WASH. – Sanna Nyassi, a member of the Gambia U-20 National Team at the 2007 FIFA Championships, has signed a Major League Soccer contract with Seattle Sounders FC, it was announced Friday.
Nyassi, a 19-year-old midfielder, becomes the third player signed by Sounders FC, joining American goalkeeper Kasey Keller and French forward Sebastien Le Toux. Sounders FC begins its inaugural MLS season in 2009.
Like Le Toux, Nyassi is now being loaned to the Sounders of the USL First Division for the remainder of this season. He is expected to be available for Seattle’s next match, at home to Miami FC on Saturday night.
Nyassi had been on training with the USL Sounders, where he was evaluated by both Adrian Hanauer, the general manager, and Chris Henderson, the technical director. Nyassi had participated in a trial with the New England Revolution last summer. Sanna’s twin brother, Sainey Nyassi, was signed by the Revolution and is a regular starter in MLS this season.
“Sanna is a very technical player, strikes the ball well with both feet, and he has lightning quickness,” said Hanauer. “He has enormous potential and if he works extremely hard, he could have a very long an successful career in MLS.”
In June, Nyassi scored a goal in Gambia’s 3-0 exhibition win over the Senegal U-20s.
At the 2007 U-20 FIFA Championships hosted by Canada, Nyassi twice came off the bench for Gambia. His team upset Portugal to finish second in their group and reach the round of 16. Earlier, he was a member of the West African nation’s side at the 2005 U-17 world championships, playing in all three matches, including one start.
Seattle will be Nyassi’s second professional club. He originally signed with Gambia Ports Authority FC in 2004, playing with the club in the capital city of Banjul until this year. He scored the game-winning goal in the 2007 national cup final. Ports Authority won the 2006 League 1 championship.
Birthplace: Bwiam, Gambia
Last Club: Gambia Ports Authority FC (Banjul)