Age at MLS Cup: 26
Hometown: Accra, Ghana
ALL COMPETITIONS IN 2020 (Crew only):
Boateng came to Columbus in August upon being acquired from D.C. United. The speedy winger fit right in and gave the Crew a dangerous attacking option against tired defenses. Joining up with Harrison Afful and Jonathan Mensah, Boateng further enhanced the Ghanaian flavor of the 2020 champs, much to the team’s benefit. He is now a member of the New England Revolution, but his brief time in Columbus was well spent. He will always be a Massive Champion.
THROUGH JOSH’S EYES:
“With Ema, the whole time I don’t think I saw him wear the same pair of shoes twice. He had a different pair of shoes for every outfit. I’m a shoe guy, so I appreciate this. He never wore the same shoes twice, so that was pretty wild.
“He was one of the guys in our fantasy football league, so he was always talking smack about that. He had one of the best teams, so he ran his mouth all season long. He lost the championship to (Crew data analyst) Alex Mysiw, which I think is unfair because he’s a stats guy. He’s the data guy, so we never should have let him in the league. But Ema had a very good team. I was impressed by how much he knew about sports. He’s a Lakers fan, so if you’re any type of LeBron fan, you’re good on my watch.
“Ema was such a great addition to our locker room. He always had a smile on his face and he blended in with everybody. I don’t think you can find a guy on the team that didn’t like Ema. Obviously, he was always clowning around with the Ghanaian guys. Because of the way the season was (with COVID safety protocols), we were split into two locker rooms at Obetz. The normal locker room had half the guys and the other half of guys were in what is normally the lounge area and team meeting area. They had to move lockers over there, so we were split up. Ema would be on his side for about a minute, and then he would be bouncing back and forth between both sides, just clowning around.
“He’s another one of those guys where when I found out we were signing him, I was glad I didn’t have to face him anymore. If he was starting, you had to deal with hum for at least 75 minutes, and if he wasn’t starting, he’s one of those guys that would come on in the 70th or 75th minute and you’re like, ‘Oh god, here we go, and I’m already tired.’ So now we had a situation where we could drain an opponent a little bit and then throw a fresh Boateng at you. He’s a guy that would immediately give us energy because we knew he’s the last guy any outside back wants to see in the late stages of a game. We knew he would be causing havoc. He did that a lot. There were games where he came in and just caused havoc whenever he touched the ball.
“He’s a threat at all times because he can get to the ball first because he’s a little bit quicker than you even think. He’s so low to the ground, so if you’re big like I am, you can never really get a good body on him. He’ll just slip under you. And he’s left-footed, which is such a huge piece to have, especially if you’re speedy and can get down the wing or cut inside. He would rip guys up in training. He would get the ball and tear guys up because he’s so quick. As good as a player as he is, I think he was an even better teammate in the locker room. I was sad to see him go because he’s a great guy to be around. I wish him nothing but the best in New England, but he was a big piece for us, I thought.”
[NOTE: To see a clickable list of earlier installments of this Josh Williams series or other MLS Cup related posts, please click HERE.]
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