NASHVILLE – An already strong defense got a major boost on Wednesday as Nashville Soccer Club of the United Soccer League (USL) Championship announced the signing of free agent center back Ken Tribbett, pending league and federation approval. Tribbett, 26, joins Nashville with both Major League Soccer (MLS) and USL Championship experience, and is coming off a season where he tied for the USL Championship lead in goals scored by a defender. He’ll join a group that ranked second in the USL Championship in goals allowed and shutouts last season.
“I am delighted to add Ken to our group,” said Nashville SC head coach Gary Smith. “His strength of character and leadership will add yet more quality to our strong back line.”
A native of Colorado, Tribbett served as the captain for Penn FC last season where he made 21 appearances, all starts. Prior to joining Penn, Tribbett played for the Philadelphia Union of MLS where he made 23 appearances over the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He scored three MLS goals, and was a starter on the back line in the Union’s lone playoff game during that stretch, a 2016 knockout round contest.
Starting his professional career in 2015 with Penn FC, then called the Harrisburg City Islanders, Tribbett burst onto the scene in the USL Championship. He made 28 appearances and scored three goals as a rookie earning him a 2015 USL Championship Rookie of the Year Finalist nomination.
“Ken’s experiences and performances in MLS and USL made him a prime target for us this offseason,” said Nashville SC VP of soccer operations and technical director Mike Jacobs. “This acquisition matches our club’s ambition and commitment to sign players that we believe can help strengthen our team while pursuing championships.”
Despite suiting up for just 21 games in 2018, Tribbett bagged six tallies, tied for the most of any primary defender in the league. He was named the midseason USL Defender of the Year, but an injury derailed the final two months of the season for Tribbett as he fell out of contention for the end of the season awards. He is now fully healthy and ready to take the field for Nashville SC.
“I am beyond excited to join Nashville SC for the 2019 season,” said Tribbet. “I cannot wait to get the ball rolling and compete for a championship next year. This is a great organization in a fantastic city with an amazing fan base, so I am cherishing the opportunity to play in such a great environment.”
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