MLS Insider takes a look at the Colorado Rapids' Danny Mwanga
, who was recently granted U.S. citizenship,
capping a journey that took him from his native Democratic Republic of Congo to the United States. He was reunited with his mother, who had immigrated in 2001 after his father, a government worker,
went missing one day and was presumed to have been murdered by anti-government forces.
The first thing he asked from his mother when he arrived in Oregon was a soccer ball, and soccer
provided him a way to make friends when he didn't yet know English. It gave him a chance to get an athletic scholarship at Oregon State and a chance to turn pro and help support his family.
"It's not an opportunity everybody gets," says Mwanga, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft.
He's bounced around MLS from Philadelphia to Portland and now to Colorado,
where he hasn't scored in nine games. But he's still young -- he turned 22 on Wednesday -- and ready to contribute to his new country.
"I'm very grateful for my country," he says.