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Armada FC makes splash with addition of former La Liga and Swiss Super League striker Alhassane Keita

Jan 7, 2015

Alhassane Keita Video Highlights

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (January 7, 2015)
- The Armada FC, Jacksonville’s new North American Soccer League (NASL) team, announced on Wednesday the addition of former La Liga and Swiss Super League striker Alhassane (Ah-la-sahn) Keita (Kay-tah), pending international clearance approval.

Keita, a 31-year-old who hails from Conakry, Guinea, comes to Jacksonville after a distinguished career in Europe, the Middle East and Africa that saw him win his league’s Golden Boot Award twice (FC Zürich in 2005-06 and Olympique Khourigba in 2001) and lead his clubs to three league championships and two cup titles. His 100-plus career goals in 250-plus appearances equates to an impressive strike rate of one goal per less than every three games.

"We are very pleased to welcome a pedigree like Keita’s," said Dario Sala, Armada FC General Manager. "He has been successful against top competition overseas, and I look forward to seeing what dynamic he can bring to our club."

The majority of Keita’s career has been spent in Switzerland, with his most recent stop with Swiss Super League side FC St. Gallen. In 2013-14, he netted seven goals and one assist in 29 appearances, including 19 appearances in Super League, seven appearances in Europa League and three appearances in Swiss Cup play.    

Keita’s most successful stretch came with FC Zürich from 2001-06, where he netted 60 goals and tallied 22 assists in 126 appearances. He helped lead the club to back-to-back league championships in 2005-06 and 2006-07 and a Swiss Cup in 2004-05. His FC Zürich stint came after he signed his first professional contract at the age of 17 with Olympique Khouribga in Morocco.

After his standout performance as one of the Swiss Super League’s marquee players with FC Zürich and 28 goals in 40 appearances and a league title with Saudi Premier League Club Al-Ittihad, Keita moved on to Spain’s RCD Mallorca in arguably one of the world’s top leagues, La Liga. He netted 13 goals and one assist in 59 appearances from 2008-11. Keita also had a brief six-match stint in 2010-11 on loan with Real Valladolid in Spain’s Segunda Division.

Following his time in Spain, Keita became one of the UAE Pro League’s blockbuster signings of 2011, originally signing a three-year contract. He joined Emirates Club for the 2011-12 season. He then moved on to Dubai CSC for 2012-13.

During 2004-2009, Keita was a member of the Guinea Men’s National team and helped the squad reach the quarterfinals in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2004.

"I am really looking forward to starting something special in Jacksonville, and the Armada FC really excited me after I visited the club in November," Keita said. "(Head coach) Jose Luis Villarreal’s system is ideal for my playing style, and he and Dario Sala really welcomed me, so I cannot wait to join my teammates for preseason."

Keita is the eighth player signed to the Armada FC first-team roster to have officially been announced and is one of the club's international allotments. So far the club has announced the signings of goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, forward Jemal Johnson, midfielders Jaime Castrillón and Lucas Rodriguez and defenders Fabricio Ortiz, Matt Bahner and Shawn Nicklaw.

The Armada FC expects to make additional player announcements over the next several weeks as it eventually rounds out its roster.