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Dabo set to join Revolution

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / February 8, 2011

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FOXBOROUGH — Former SS Lazio midfielder Ousmane Dabo has signed a Major League Soccer contract and will join the Revolution once his international transfer certificate and visa have been finalized, according to multiple sources.

Dabo, who turns 34 today, played 12 games in Italy’s Serie A last season but is a free agent, so no transfer fee will be involved. In the past, Dabo has commanded transfer fees totaling 10.5 million euros.

Dabo and soon-to-be teammate Didier Domi were attracted to MLS by the success in the league of French players such as Youri Djorkaeff and Thierry Henry. Dabo has been training with Olivier Kapo (formerly of Celtic FC and Juventus), who recently turned down an offer from Chivas USA.

When Dabo first started being courted by MLS, he told France Football magazine, “I don’t expect to be signed to help sell jerseys.’’ In other words, Dabo, born in Laval and capped three times by France in the 2003 Confederations Cup, has been recruited by the Revolution for his playing ability, not for marketing purposes.

Like Domi, Dabo long has been a respected performer in Europe, both keeping a relatively low profile compared with others who are part of a strong generation of French players. Dabo played at Lazio as a holding midfielder, a ball-winner who can not only break up attacks but also make difficult passes and link up with forwards.

Other former Serie A performers who have played for the Revolution include Cate’ (2001), Giuseppe Galderisi (1996), Alexi Lalas (1996-97), Walter Zenga (1997 and ’99), and Emmanuel Osei (2009-10).

The Revolution have used 79 foreign players from 48 countries in 15 seasons. Dabo and Domi are the team’s first French players.

“Whenever new players are coming in it just takes a little time to get used to them,’’ Revolution midfielder Chris Tierney said. “The quality is going to be better this year. The new guys are going to bring new looks, so we can play some guys at different spots, have some depth we might not have had last year. So it can only help us.

“Things are in place for us to make a turnaround here.’’

The Revolution participated in their first scrimmaging yesterday, after a week of conditioning.

“It’s a bit different than I’m used to but it’s OK, you get used to it,’’ Domi said. “With [coach] Stevie [Nicol], it’s more like training in the Premier. There are a lot of young guys and it is hard to judge about the team — it’s our first day, so we are going to see what we are going to have to work on, day by day.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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