Ten things to know about defender Amadou Dia

Amadou Dia playing in 2016 - Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City set the stage for another player reunion on Friday, signing 26-year-old defender Amadou Dia. The left back returns to Kansas City after spending two seasons with Sporting from 2015-2016.

You may remember Dia for his previous contributions in a Sporting uniform, but there’s plenty more to learn about the dynamic outside back. With that in mind, here are 10 things to know about the French American dual national.

1. French Roots

Dia was born in Nantes, France and spent the first several years of his life in Paris before moving to California at age 7 and to Colorado at age 10. He still has a vivid memory of marching along Paris’ iconic Champs Elysees when France won its first World Cup in 1998.

2. High School Reunion

Dia was a youth standout at Mountain Vista High School, where he just so happened to play alongside current Sporting center back Graham Smith. The two are now set to join forces for the first time since their high school playing days.

3. Coaching Connection

Current Sporting Kansas City II assistant coach Chris Martinez formerly coached Dia in the Real Colorado youth academy. Martinez, who had already forged a longstanding relationship with Sporting manager Peter Vermes as his former MLS teammate in the late 1990s, would later give Vermes glowing recommendations about Dia ahead of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.

4. Clemson Star

In a successful four-year college career at Clemson, Dia logged 70 career appearances, four goals and six assists. As a senior in 2014, he led the Tigers to their first ACC soccer championship since 2001, also reaching the Round of 16 in the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Championship.

5. Under the Radar

Despite his strong career at Clemson, Dia was not among the 70 players invited to the 2015 MLS Combine. While those hopeful draftees were competing in Florida ahead of the SuperDraft, Dia was back home in Colorado preparing to launch his pro career. He watched the draft in his home with several family members and was taken 20th overall by Sporting.

6. Nicknamed “T”

Many of his teammates call Dia by his nickname, “T.” The name’s origins are simple enough, as his middle name is Tidiane.

7. Fast Impressions

Dia may have been a less heralded pick in the 2015 SuperDraft, but it didn’t hold him back from making a terrific first impression at Sporting. He landed his MLS debut in Week 1 of the 2015 campaign, becoming the club’s first rookie to start on opening day since 2011.

8. Open Cup Champion

Dia finished his rookie campaign with 27 appearances in all competitions, including four Open Cup starts en route to Sporting’s title. He started nine of 10 MLS matches the following year before joining the Montreal Impact for the latter half of 2016.

9. Rising in Phoenix

Dia thrived at Rising FC from 2017-2019, earning club Defender of the Year honors in his final two seasons. He started 87 of 90 USL Championship matches at the club—notching four goals and eight assists—and guided Phoenix to three straight playoff berths, winning the 2018 Western Conference Championship and helping the side to a historically dominant 2019 campaign.

10. Back in KC

Having signed for Sporting, Dia becomes the 13th player in team history to spend two separate stints at the club. Also in that group are current teammates Khiry Shelton and Roger Espinoza. The full list is below.

<strong>First Stint</strong>
<strong>Second Stint</strong>
<div>Amadou Dia</div>
<div>2020 – present</div>
<div>Roger Espinoza</div>
<div>2015 – present</div>
<div>Benny Feilhaber</div>
<div>Diego Gutierrez</div>
<div>Igor Juliao</div>
<div>Matt McKeon</div>
<div>Krisztian Nemeth</div>
<div>Lawrence Olum</div>
<div>Soony Saad</div>
<div>Khiry Shelton</div>
<div>2020 – present</div>
<div>Shavar Thomas</div>
<div>Josh Wolff</div>