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Djimi Traore officially signs with Seattle Sounders

The longtime English Premier League defender has been on trial with the Sounders for several week and will likely compete for a starting spot at center back.

Christian Petersen

Former Liverpool defender Djimi Traore officially signed with the Seattle Sounders, the club announced on Saturday. Traore, 32, spent 16 years playing professionally in Europe and becomes the first Sounders player to have a UEFA Champions League title to his name, with Liverpool in 2005. His most recent stop was with Ligue 1's Marseille in 2011-12, helping them to a French League Cup title.

"Djimi has a great deal of experience and has played in the top leagues in Europe," Sounders FC Sporting Director Chris Henderson said in a team release. "He's a very good defender and makes smart decisions with the ball coming out the back.Djimi brings us confidence and leadership in the back."

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Traore has played solid, if not necessarily spectacularly, in his preseason appearances. An injury has kept him from playing the Sounders' last two games, but that was apparently not a major concern. At 6-foot-3, he immediately becomes the Sounders' tallest outfield player and should provide the kind of physical presence in the back the Sounders have lacked for much of their MLS existence.

That gives the Sounders 29 players under contract, five of whom occupy international roster spots, with Christian Tiffert's situation still in limbo. The Sounders could elect to keep those two roster spots open, which would bring in $35,000 in allocation apiece.

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