Anibaba, 31, is an MLS veteran coming off his second year with the Revolution. He scored one goal in 22 appearances for New England last season, and was mostly used as a depth piece.
That said, Anibaba was also a locker room leader and energized his Revolution teammates on the field with his trademark fist-pumps whenever he’d make a defensive block.
Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts, a Nashville native, announced that the club had selected Anibaba with the third of its five picks during a live watch party with fans and VIPs at the Ole Red Tavern in Nashville.
Betts mispronounced Anibaba’s last name, and said “Attinella” instead.
It’s not every day a World Series winner mis-pronounces my last name while announcing an expansion draft pick of another person. But thanks @mookiebetts for the 10 seconds of heart pounding confusion! That was a rush.
— Jeff Attinella (@Jeff_Attinella1) November 19, 2019
The Revolution will receive $50,000 in general allocation money because Anibaba was selected. Anibaba’s guaranteed compensation – which the MLS Players Union lists at $102,250 – will also come off the Revolution’s salary cap.
The Chicago Fire selected Anibaba with the ninth overall pick of the 2011 MLS Superdraft. He’s been a league journeyman since leaving Chicago in 2013 as he’s gone on to represent Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City, the Houston Dynamo, New England, and now Nashville.
New England will likely try to replace Anibaba in the coming weeks, though it took steps toward solidifying the roster’s defensive depth Wednesday afternoon by re-signing second-year defender Brandon Bye.
Bye, 22, has scored three goals in 54 appearances for the Revolution. Bye will occupy a senior roster spot in 2020.