Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Red Bulls bank on streetwise Tchani
by Mike Woitalla, January 26th, 2010 7AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS] This season, Tony Tchani will be wearing the jersey of the New York Red Bulls. It will be one of the few uniforms the 20-year-old has ever worn. Before he came to the USA from Cameroon in 2006, Tchani played all his soccer on the streets of Bafang.

"Since I was little I would just play on the street with my friends," said 6-foot-4 Tchani, who went pro after helping Virginia win the NCAA Division I title in his sophomore season. "On the street there's no parents, no referees, no rules. You just play. I'd play with my friends. Usually four-on-four or three-on-three."

When his friends weren't around, he'd juggle or practice his shooting. On television, he'd watch his hero, the Frenchman Zinedine Zidane. From television he learned the rules of the game. Of American soccer he knew little.

"I knew about the U.S. national team," he said. "But not about the league."

He was too young to recall Cameroon's historic run to the quarterfinals of the 1990 World Cup in Italy. His first memories of the Indomitable Lions were from the 1994 World Cup.

"That was in the United States, right?" he says.

When he was 12 years old his mother left Bafang for the United States seeking political asylum. About four years later, Tchani, who was living with extended family, was able to join her in Maryland. After the joyful reunion he sought soccer and was at first distressed that there was no sign of it in the streets of his new neighborhood.

But his uncle knew Mohsin Bouziane, the coach of Maury High School in Norfolk, Va., to where he moved and quickly became the star of the Commodores.

"He learned how to play soccer with older guys," Bouziane told the The Virginian-Pilot. "He learned how to defend himself. He learned how to be tough. He learned how to survive in an environment like that."

After two years of high school ball, he accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Virginia. The central midfielder scored nine goals and made three assists during his freshman year before suffering a knee injury. He notched eight goals and four assists as the Cavaliers lifted last year's national title.

"Today is the best day of my life," Tchani said after being selected in the SuperDraft. "This is a dream come true." 

Asked what his strengths are, Tchani, with a Red Bulls scarf around his neck, said, size and speed. Asked what he needs to improve on to make it in the pros: "Everything. It's not going to be easy."



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Six EPL clubs in action on U.S. soil on Wednesday    
[INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES] No less than eight international matches will be played on Wednesday. Manchester United and ...
Fire and Quakes need points in Yallop homecoming    
[MLS: Week 20] Ten league matches are sprinkled over the next six days to accommodate a ...
What They're Saying: Jason Ader    
"The second mouse gets the cheese. This is not something that will happen overnight." -- Gaming ...
2014 W-League All-League Team    
[AWARDS] Two midfielders from the regular-season champion LA Blues -- Mele French and Sarah Killion -- ...
The Chicago Daily News    
[THE PITCH] The relocation of U.S. women's national team star Christen Press from Sweden to the ...
Pep Guardiola: Julian Green deserves Bayern shot    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] On a Bayern Munich team featuring six German World Cup champions, plus a host ...
Squads picked for Denmark and Mexico tourneys    
[USA UNDER-17 MEN] U.S. under-17 men's national team head coach Richie Williams named two rosters for ...
A sweet side-volley from Berbatov    
[VIDEO PICK: Golazo] Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov's latest spectacular goal provided the gamewinner for Monaco over Colombia's ...
What They're Saying: Neymar    
"I think Brazilian soccer is behind. It's behind Germany and Spain. We've slipped behind and we ...
Arsenal players practice speaking New Yorkese    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] In preparation for their visit to the U.S. Northeast, where they'll ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives