Forward Madison FC has re-signed defender Christian “Pato” Díaz for the 2020 season, the club announced in a release Monday. Díaz, 28, was named to the USL League One Best XI in 2019 and was also a finalist for the league’s Defender of the Year award.
Díaz also garnered an invitation to train with affiliate MLS club Minnesota United as they prepared for the MLS playoffs.
“It feels great to re-sign,” Díaz said in a statement. “I have a lot of love for the people here, so I’m excited to be back. We want to be champions next year and I’m looking forward to lifting the trophy.”
Díaz, who has played in Mexican top division Liga MX, brought high-level experience to the Flamingos in their inaugural campaign. Díaz started his professional career with Atlas FC in Guadalajara at just 17 years old, and has played for three Mexican teams.
While looking around the United States for a new club, Díaz found help from his childhood friend (and U.S. Men’s National Team player) Miguel Ibarra, who recommended him to the FMFC staff. Once head coach Daryl Shore saw some footage, the deal came together quickly.
“It took us 40 seconds of watching Christian play to know we wanted to sign him,” Shore said. “Once we had a conversation with him and got to know his personality, it became a no-brainer.”
Díaz played as both a left back and a right back in 2019, scoring two goals in all competitions. According to Shore, having Díaz back provides a key piece of the Flamingos’ foundation for their second year.
“Christian is a leader both on and off the field,” Shore said. “Have a player of his caliber on our roster is a testament to what our organization is doing to have the best possible players on our team in 2020.”