As news spread of Bruce Arena’s rapid departure from the MLS Superdraft (DRAFT Wrap-up here) about an hour before it began, everyone knew the Galaxy had something up their sleeve beyond the norm. And indeed they did. Not long after the announcement of the return of Magic Mike Magee to his former home team, LA Galaxy announced the signing of a speedy 21-year-old Ghanaian midfielder, Emmanuel Boateng, once regarded as a high potential Superdraft player himself from University of California, Santa Barbara, till he left for Sweden to play for Helsingborgs IF in 2013. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“He’s a young and exciting player who offers a lot of pace to our team. He’s left footed and predominantly a left-sided attacking player who gives us something that we don’t have.” — Bruce Arena.
That’s the second time a coach from LA Galaxy mentioned the word attacking regarding their signings today. Similarly, Mike Magee was lauded for his attacking style. This marks a departure from their earlier understandable assumption of the continued glory of their reigning Goal King, Robbie Keane.
His life story, one of many told in the film The Beautiful Game, is of hope and determination and a ‘sometimes you have to create your own luck’ message. In it Emmanuel purchases his own flight to accept the enticing and lucrative offer to train with Helsingborgs.
When Boateng turned 15, the Right to Dream Academy in Ghana truly lived up to its name and gave him a scholarship to enroll in the Cate School in California. Boateng was honored as the top high school soccer player in the U.S. in 2012 at the Cate School. Like many natural athletes, Boateng was successful in dual sports; in track as a 100- and 200-meter star, and as the MVP of the 2011 Milk Cup, an international youth tournament. Boateng was also the 2012 Gatorade Soccer Player of the Year, given to the top high-school soccer player in the United States.
Boateng skipped his senior year at Cate School to attend University of California, Santa Barbara, where he made an immediate impact as a freshman, scoring four goals. That year, he earned honors as Big West’s Freshman of the Year and First Team All-Big West.
After playing for Ventura County Fusion in the PDL in the summer of 2013, Boateng signed his first professional contract with Swedish Helsingborgs IF. In total he played 52 matches, notched eleven goals, including 36 premier division games with four goals.
Though most expect him to remain with Los Dos for a significant adjustment period, given his natural abilities and left-footed advantage, it may only be a brief period of time before we see him trying for a regular role with the Galaxy’s first team.
Name: Emmanuel Boateng
Pronunciation: Ee-man-you-ell BOH-a-tang
Weight: 150 lbs.
Born: Jan. 17, 1994
Hometown: Accra, Ghana
Last Club: Helsingborgs IF