Toronto FC announced Friday that the club has signed Moroccan international defender Ahmed Kantari. As per club and league policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed. He will be added to the roster upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (ITC).
Kantari, 30, joins Toronto FC after most recently playing for RC Lens (Lens) of France’s Ligue 1. Kantari spent the past two seasons at the club where he made 63 combined appearances and scored two goals, featuring in Ligue 1, Ligue 2, Coupe De France and Couple De La Ligue matches.
“We are pleased to add both an experienced and natural leader to our defensive group with the signing of Ahmed Kantari,” said Toronto FC General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “He is someone that possesses many attributes we like as a centre-back but also as a person. We feel he will be a great addition here at Toronto FC.”
Kantari began his professional career with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in 2005, after playing in the youth system for the club where he captained the U-19 and reserve sides. After signing professionally he spent one season with the club but did not feature for PSG. He moved to Racing Strasbourg of Ligue 2 for the 2006-07 season and made eight appearances for the club. Following his time at Strasbourg, Kantari signed for Stade Brestois 29 (Brest) of Ligue 2 ahead of the 2008-09 season. He remained with Brest for five seasons making a combined 160 appearances, scoring four goals; featuring in Ligue 1, Ligue 2 and Coupe De France matches. At the conclusion of his time at Brest, Kantari signed for Lens, who was playing in Ligue 2 ahead of the 2013-14 season. His play helped Lens gain promotion to Ligue 1 for the 2014-15 season.
Kantari has earned 16 caps for the Moroccan National Team. He made his debut with Morocco on November 15, 2005 during a 0-0 draw in a friendly match against Cameroon. Kantari has featured in both African Cup of Nations and FIFA World Cup qualification matches for Morocco. His most recent cap came on June 15, 2013 during a 2-0 victory over Gambia, where he captained the team during a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification match. He is eligible to play for Morocco through his parents who were both born in Morocco.