Seattle's new signing gets shoutout from uncle Demba Ba after impressive debut

One of the most impressive aspects of the Seattle Sounders' unbeaten start to their 2021 season is how their depth has weathered a handful of critical injury absences. Newly signed defender AB Cissoko is just the latest example.

The 21-year-old Frenchman made his MLS debut in Seattle's 2-1 victory over the LA Galaxy on Saturday in place of the injured Nouhou to positive early returns, helping the Sounders hold Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez off the scoresheet and continue their remarkable streak to start the season of allowing no goals from open play through nine games.

Seattle's scouting department looks like they may have found another diamond in the rough, but when you consider Cissoko's lineage, his ascent from USL Championship affiliate Tacoma Defiance to the Sounders' first team might not be that surprising.

As it turns out, Cissoko's uncle is none other than Demba Ba, the longtime veteran striker of multiple English Premier League sides, including Chelsea, West Ham and Newcastle United. The well-traveled 36-year-old is still playing professional soccer, having just signed with Swiss Super League club Lugano, but took note of his nephew's successful pro debut from across the pond, sharing a congratulatory message with his 1.3 million Twitter followers.

The shoutout from his famous uncle was no doubt a cherry on top to the milestone debut for Cissoko, who head coach Brian Schmetzer touted as a preseason standout in part due to his training ground battles with Will Bruin that helped convince the Seattle coaching staff he was a potential first-team contributor. With plenty of season left to go and injuries, fixture congestion and squad rotation sure to be a factor, Saturday's match might not be the last we see of Cissoko in Seattle's back line.

"What I've seen since [he signed] is just a really good kid who's listening, paying attention, trying to soak up as much knowledge as he can and his performance was well within and probably above our expectations for a debut," Schmetzer said of Cissoko on Tuesday. "That wasn't an easy game by any stretch of the imagination and he did great."