FC Dallas has signed defender and 2020 MLS SuperDraft pick Nkosi Tafari to a new three-year contract with club options for the 2025 and 2026 seasons, the club announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal will not be disclosed.
Tafari, 24, made his MLS debut at a home match on June 19 vs. Minnesota United FC at Toyota Stadium. He appeared in 22 matches, including 21 starts, and scored his first MLS goal in the 2-2 draw against Texas Derby rival Houston Dynamo FC on Aug. 21. He also recorded two assists. He was named to the MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week bench for Weeks 16 and 21. He led the team with 127 clearances and had a career-high of 16 clearances against Sporting Kansas City on July 31.
Off the field, Tafari continues to advocate for his community and is an active member of Black Players for Change. On April 17, 2021, Tafari revealed on Instagram his jersey with the name "Tafari" displayed on the back.
According to the FC Dallas press release, he announced he was going by his middle name instead of his last name, Burgess, because it is a better representation of who he is and showcases his pride in his African heritage.
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In September 2021, Tafari partnered with the FC Dallas Foundation and Soccer90 to launch :) T-shirts with proceeds from the sale of the shirts benefiting the FC Dallas Foundation. Tafari started the emoticon frenzy when he tweeted ":)" after FC Dallas' win 2-1 over Sporting Kansas City on July 31, 2021. FC Dallas fans and players immediately embraced the simple yet positive message which they've continued to promote and post on social media following FC Dallas victories.
Tafari started in six matches for USL League One's North Texas SC in 2020. In the 540 minutes he appeared, Tafari scored his first professional goal vs. Chattanooga Red Wolves SC on Oct. 7. He also recorded his first professional assist vs. South Georgia Tormenta FC on Oct. 24. He started two North Texas SC matches in 2021, scored a goal and earned a Team of the Week honor following the club's 3-0 victory over Greenville Triumph at Globe Life Park on June 13.
Tafari was selected by FC Dallas 14th overall in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft. He was named the 2019 WAC Defensive Player of the Year and selected to the United Soccer Coaches All-Region First Team with Seattle University. He earned 18 starts with Seattle's backline and helped the Redhawks earn 10 shutouts and the regular-season title. Prior to joining Seattle U, Tafari played three seasons with the University of Connecticut, appearing in 46 matches, including 17 starts.