The Sounders’ first hire of a UEFA Champions League winner, defender Djimi Traore, 32, was announced by the Sounders Saturday and will be added to the roster pending receipt of his P-I visa and international transfer clearance. Traore ( jimmy try-OR-ay), a 6-3, 191-pound defender, last played for Marseille in France, making 11 appearances from 2011-12. winning the 2012 Coupe de la Ligue title.
“Djimi has a great deal of experience and has played in the top leagues in Europe,” said Sounders FC Sporting Director Chris Henderson. “He’s a very good defender and makes smart decisions with the ball coming out the back. He brings us confidence and leadership in the back.”
Traore played professionally for 16 years in Europe, including seven seasons for English Premier League side Liverpool, where he helped beat Milan in a penalty shootout in the 2005 final. He most recently played for Marseille in France, making 11 appearances from 2011-12.
Traore, a French citizen and a native of Mali, began his career for Laval of France in 1996. After three seasons, he signed with Liverpool, where he played from 1999-2006. Traore made 150 appearances across all competitions for Liverpool, including 88 in the EPL. He was the first Malian player to win the UEFA Champions League, and he also won the 2006 FA Cup, 2005 Super League and the 2003 English League Cup.
Following his stint with Liverpool, Traore joined Charlton Athletic of England from 2006-07 and signed with Portsmouth in 2007, winning the 2008 FA Cup. He has been capped 10 times by Mali, scoring one goal.
Still to be decided is the fate of designated player Christian Tiffert, whose contract GM Adrian Hanuauer has indicated may be bought out by the club. The Sounders have until the opener, at 7:30 Saturday against Montreal, to make a decision.