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Major League Soccer

Valderrama signs contract to play for Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2000.

Valderrama TAMPA, Fla. (Tuesday, November 2, 1999) -- Carlos Valderrama, one of the most decorated and popular soccer players in the world, has re-signed with Major League Soccer and will play for the Tampa Bay Mutiny in 2000.

"Carlos is one of the most recognizable symbols in MLS. More than that, he is an elegant and incisive player, and continues to be a friend of soccer in the United States," MLS executive vice president for player relations and operations Ivan Gazidis said.

Known as "El Pibe" (The Kid), Valderrama started 27 games for the Mutiny after coming from the Miami Fusion early in the 1999 season. He scored three goals and had 13 assists; the assist total tied for fourth in MLS. With Tampa Bay and Miami, Valderrama started 31 games, scored four goals and tallied 15 assists.

"My family and I have enjoyed the time we've spent in Tampa Bay, and I'm very pleased that the league has worked out an agreement that allows me to stay with the Mutiny next season, and hopefully beyond," Valderrama said.

Valderrama, who spent his first two seasons in MLS with the Mutiny before being assigned to the expansion Miami Fusion prior to the 1998 season, was reallocated back to Tampa Bay by the league on April 23. Following his return, the Mutiny went on a five-game winning streak, from 0-4 to 5-4. The team finished the year 14-18 and returned to the Eastern Conference semifinals, losing to Columbus.

The three-time Colombia World Cup captain is the Mutiny's career leader in assists (49) and is second all-time in MLS assists (63), three behind leader Marco Etcheverry of D.C. United.

"It's no secret that Carlos can do more with his feet than most people can do with their hands," Mutiny president and general manager Nick Sakiewicz said. "We're excited that we'll get another year to watch him do those things. He had a tremendous year for us even though he didn't play the full season with the Mutiny. Carlos remains one of the top attacking midfielders in the world, and has displayed he has a lot more game left to give the Tampa Bay organization and its fans."

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