Phoenix Rising FC has signed defender Pape Mar Boye, pending league and federation approval, the club announced today.
Boye, who turned 20 on December 30, helped lead Clemson to its fourth NCAA championship by defeating Norte Dame, 2-1, on December 11. The freshman started that match at center back and was named the College Cup Defensive MVP following the win.
“As a freshman,” Boye said. “I was the last man back in a three-man system, which made a lot of people nervous. Luckily, I’m not a player that worries too much. I just went out and played my game and listened to my coach. We played as the coach dictated and it all worked out. The team really came together well at the right time. We were there for each other.”
Drawing a lot of parallels to Phoenix Rising’s championship run in 2023, Boye’s story began in Dakar, Senegal, home of fellow Rising defender Mo Traore, who recently re-signed with the team.
“I grew up playing soccer in Senegal and joined Galaxy Football Academy in Dakar when I was 12 years old,” said Boye. “Through Galaxy, I had the opportunity to come to the U.S.”
Boye played his junior and senior seasons at Montverde Academy, near Orlando, Florida before being spotted by Clemson University during a college showcase.
“Clemson picked me and brought me in to play for them on scholarship, giving me the opportunity to play college soccer,” said Boye. “Adjusting to college life as a freshman at Clemson was difficult at the beginning. I didn’t know too many other players. We lost our first game. We travelled a lot. It was a tough moment for me but thankfully we were able to stick together as a team.
Being a freshman, I made some mistakes but there was always a teammate there to help me and get me back on track quickly. I gained a lot of experience as the season went on and the players that had been at Clemson for a few seasons were true leaders. They really helped me to succeed. They taught me to keep working hard and stay together. All that paid off and we had a lot of success at the end of the season.”
Clemson only allowed three goals in its final seven games to secure the NCAA Championship.
Boye was in line to be a top pick in the 2024 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, but instead chose to join the defending USL Champions.
“The offer to come to Phoenix means a lot to me because it will be my first contract as a professional,” said Boye. “I’m excited to get to work and help the team continue to make their fans happy. My goal is to help the team win another championship. I’ll do anything I can to help the team. I am ready to get to work.”
Transaction: Phoenix Rising FC signs defender Pape Mar Boye
Name: Pape Mar Boye
Pronunciation: Pop-Marr BOY
DOB: December 30, 2003 (20)
Born: Dakar, Senegal
Last Club: Clemson University
ROSTERED PLAYERS (18):
Goalkeeper (1): Patrick Rakovsky
Defenders (7): Eddie Munjoma, John Stenberg, Juan Carlos Azocar, Eduardo Rito, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Mo Traore, Papa Mar Boye
Midfielders (8): Panos Armenakas, Carlos Harvey, Jose Hernandez, Gabi Torres, Fede Varela, Renzo Zambrano, JP Scearce, Emil Cuello Forwards (2): Erickson Gallardo, Dariusz Formella