The Seattle Sounders have signed center back Abdoulaye Cissoko to a one-year contract with club options for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, it was announced Friday.

Cissoko spent this past preseason training with Seattle after impressing during the 2020 campaign at USL Championship side Tacoma Defiance, their reserve team.

“It’s promising to see another young player perform well when given the opportunity to train in the first-team environment,” general manager & president of soccer Garth Lagerwey said in a release. “AB is a talented defender who played last year as a member of Tacoma Defiance and has steadily improved. We look forward to his continued development at the MLS level.”

The 21-year-old French defender is the second Defiance player to sign with the Sounders after first-team training this preseason, following midfielder Reed Baker-Whiting signing last week. During the 2020 season with Tacoma, Cissoko made 12 appearances (nine starts) and scored once.

“I’ve been pleased with AB’s performance training with the first team during preseason and he has earned his MLS contract,” head coach Brian Schmetzer said in a release. “His tenacity and competitiveness going up against our veteran attacking players has shown us that he is up to the challenge. I’m looking forward to seeing how he continues to improve from here.”

Cissoko developed in France before coming to Seattle's organization in 2019. He then went on loan with NISA side San Diego 1904 FC for the remainder of 2019 before returning to Tacoma for the 2020 campaign.

Cissoko adds to Seattle’s depth in central defense, with Xavier Arreaga, Nouhou Tolo, Shane O’Neill and Yeimar Gomez Andrade presenting more experienced options at the position. Layer in Jordy Delem’s ACL tear and an additional option was necessary as they further rely on a three-man backline with wingbacks.

“Seeing players progress within the club’s development pipeline provides a lot of optimism about the future,” senior VP of soccer operations & sporting director Craig Waibel said in a release. “AB has promise as a professional defender and will only improve more as he continues to work with the first team.”