Phoenix Rising signs defender Baboucarr Njie to multi-year contract
Phoenix Rising FC announced its second new signing in less than a week on Monday.
PRFC signed defender Baboucarr “Babou” Njie to a multi-year contract, pending USL and federation approval.
Njie most recently played for Rio Grande Valley FC and scored the opening goal in RGV’s upset penalty shootout win over Phoenix in this year’s Western Conference quarterfinal.
— Rio Grande Valley FC (@RGVFC) November 7, 2021
“Babou is a tremendous addition to our team,” manager Rick Schantz said in a press release. “He’s very athletic and extremely skillful. He is a strong player and an amazing and humble person.
“The goal he scored against us in the playoffs is the type of assertive attacking play I expect we’ll see often from Babou in 2022.”
Njie only played a total of 1,391 minutes in 2021 for RGV, but still managed to lead the club with 151 duels won and ranked second in tackles won with 36.
He may have only started 14 matches last season — including two playoff games — but the 26-year-old was in the starting XI for his side’s final 11 contests in all competitions.
Njie has the ability to play in the midfield as well, having scored two goals to go along with one assist in his 28 appearances in 2021.
However, expect to see Schantz deploy him as a left back and compete with Valley native Ryan Flood for the starting spot following the end of Arizona native Tate Schmitt’s loan spell from MLS side Real Salt Lake.
“I cannot wait to get to Phoenix and start working,” Njie said in the release. “I’m excited to feel what everyone else feels like when they’re playing for Phoenix. … I could see it in everyone’s eyes.
“Those players were all winners. They’ve all won something and that’s what I want. Next season, I see nothing but gold. I want to feel the enjoyment of winning a championship.”
Phoenix Rising is still in ongoing negotiations with “several players” and has now 16 players signed to its roster ahead of the 2022 USL Championship season:
Goalkeeper: Lalo Delgado
Fullbacks: Joey Calistri, Ryan Flood, Darnell King, Baboucarr “Babou” Njie
Center backs: Niall Dunn, Joe Farrell, Manuel Madrid, James Musa
Midfielders: Ivan Gutierrez, Jonathan Levin, Aodhan Quinn, Arturo Rodriguez, Luis Seijas
Forwards: Santi Moar, Marcus Epps