Thearon W. Henderson
In a deal that was reportedly struck earlier this month, the San Jose Earthquakes officially announced the signing of Canadian international defender Nana Attakora to a new contract. Attakora, who arrived in San Jose in the summer of 2011 via a trade with Toronto FC, played last season in Finland with Haka FC.
The San Jose Earthquakes today made the signing of Nana Attakora official. The Canadian international defender has been in preseason training with the Quakes since the conclusion of Team Canada's mini-camp and match against the U.S. Men's National Team at the tail end of January. He will provide good depth, and even challenge for a starting spot, at the centerback position.
"We're happy to have Nana back to add some depth to our center backs. We never wanted to see him go, but he looked sharp during his stint in Europe and we look forward to having him in an Earthquakes jersey once again," said Earthquakes head coach Frank Yallop in an official statement.
Attakora first joined the Earthquakes in the summer of 2011 as part of a four player trade with Toronto FC. On July 14, with the team struggling on the field, San Jose sent 2009 team MVP Ryan Johnson to the Reds in exchange for Attakora, midfielder Jacob Peterson (now with Sporting Kansas City), and forward Alan Gordon. In an injury-plagued six games with the Earthquakes, Attakora did not register a single point. The 23-year old recorded 4 assists in 56 appearances for Toronto FC. Attakora has also earned 5 caps for the Canadian National Team.
With the departure of Ike Opara to Sporting Kansas City, and the continuing health concerns of long-time Quakes defender Jason Hernandez, securing Attakora's services became a necessity this preseason. The Earthquakes have another former Toronto FC centerback already on the roster in Ty Harden, but Attakora should provide a starter-level backup to either Hernandez or Victor Bernardez if either is unavailable to play.
Attakora left the Earthquakes following the 2011 season when negotiations failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. In a rather acrimonious split, San Jose refused to trade his player rights within MLS, preferring to hold on to those for themselves, and Attakora moved overseas to continue his career. Training spells in Spain and Scotland finally ended when he signed with Finland side Haka FC.
With the signing of Attakora, the San Jose Earthquakes roster has swelled to 25 players. With the start of the regular season only 9 days away, the team is likely to add at least another 3 names to that list -- including a possible loan deal for Tottenham midfielder John Bostock -- within the next week. The Earthquakes currently have 36 players participating in preseason camp.