CINCINNATI – FC Cincinnati announced on Wednesday the club had acquired Swedish defender Pa Konate from Serie A’s S.P.A.L. Konate has signed an MLS contract for a one-year loan and will be added to the team’s roster through a USL-loan agreement for the remainder of the 2018 season pending receipt of his ITC and P-1 Visa.
“Pa is an excellent technical left back who is willing to join in the attack and is also an excellent defender,” said FCC Head Coach Alan Koch. “We are excited to get him back up to match speed, so that he can recover his form that he showed at Malmö and earned him his move to Serie A. He will compete for playing time immediately.”
The 24-year-old came up through Malmö FF’s youth system and played four seasons with the club’s first team before moving to S.P.A.L. in July, 2017. A member of one of Sweden’s most dominant clubs, Konate has been a part of four Allsvenskan (Sweden Super League) championships with Malmö, claiming the titles in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017. In 2014, he went on a six-month loan from Malmö to Östers IF, returning to Malmö for the second half of the campaign.
Additionally, Konate appeared in six UEFA Champions League games in 2014-15 and 2015-16 – including matches against Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Olympiacos, Shakhtar Donetsk and Paris Saint-Germain – as well as three appearances in Malmö’s 2014-15 and 2017-18 UEFA Champions League Qualifiers.
Konate has also earned three caps with Sweden’s full national team after playing consistently with the country’s Under-21 and Under-23 teams since 2013. He was a member of Sweden’s U21 squad that won the UEFA Under-21 Championship in 2015 and he also represented Sweden at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as a member of the U23 squad.
“Pa has a fantastic international pedigree with national team experience at every age level,” said FCC Technical Director Luke Sassano. “He’s consistently been a key member of championship-winning clubs and we’re eager to see him bring that mentality to Cincinnati as we aim for a USL Cup Championship this season.”