[FOUR THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ...] Emmanuel Boateng, the 2011-12 Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year, grew up in Ghana in a house with no electricity and no running water, but he made the most of the opportunity given to him in 2009 to study abroad. He finished high school in three years and will play for UC Santa Barbara in the fall. For four things to know about Boateng ...
DREAM COME TRUE.Boateng moved from his native Ghana, where he lived in a house with no electricity and no running water, to California to attend Cate School in Carpinteria in 2009 as part of the program conducted by the Right to Dream Academy that provides study abroad opportunities. The 5-foot-6 Boateng led the Rams to a 20-2-1 record and the CIF-Southern Section Division VII tournament championship in 2012. Boateng scored 32 goals, added 19 assists and was a repeat selection as the Southern Section Division VII Player of the Year.
EARLY FINISHER.Officially listed as a junior, Boateng maintained a 3.75 GPA in the classroom and has earned enough credits to attend UC Santa Barbara this fall. He concluded his prep soccer career with 79 goals and 49 assists. Boateng is only the underclassman to the Gatorade Player of the Year award in its 27-year history, joining 2010-11 winner and current Midlothian (Va.) Cosby senior Luis Rendon.
HIGH SOCCER IQ. "In the 14 years I've been coaching in Southern California, I haven't seen anybody close to as good as Ema," said Strikers FC coach Vishtasp Farhadi. "In terms of maturity and soccer IQ, I haven't seen anything like him. He's a very special player. He's very creative and has amazing vision."
MILK CUP MVP.Boateng became the first American to earn MVP honors in the 30-year history of the Milk Cup when he led the South Coast Strikers to fourth place in the 2011 Premier Section at the tournament in Northern Ireland.