Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Africans in Major League Soccer

It's not often that I write about Major League Soccer, the American professional soccer league.

Even though it's in my own backyard, I don't get out to see it as often as I would like.

Truth be told, the soccer home of David Beckham has made strides in becoming a more international league.

Last season's aquisition of the free-kicking Beckham from Real Madrid helped some as has the international flavor of star players such as Claudio Lopez and Cuauhtemoc Blanco.

This season, two Gambian internationals have staked their claim to fame in MLS, featuring for the New England Revolution.

In this article from Yahoo's Martin Rogers, we get an inside look at the way the two Gambian youngsters, Abdoulie “Kenny” Mansally and Sainey Nyassi, have assimilated into the team.

Here's an excerpt. To read the entire article, please click the link above.

New England Revolution head coach Steve Nicol has already gained a reputation as the master of the Major League Soccer draft, snapping up unheralded college players and turning them into solid performers.

This season, though, Nicol and his coaching staff went a step further by introducing two unknown youngsters from a far away continent to boost New England’s start to the campaign.

Gambian youngsters Abdoulie “Kenny” Mansally and Sainey Nyassi suffered a series of problems – including visa issues, lost baggage and a huge difference in weather from west Africa to New England – after they were snapped up in the offseason. Their impact on the Revs has been immediate, helping the team rack up impressive victories over the two-time MLS champion Houston Dynamo and in-form Kansas City Wizards on the road.

“You expect there to be a period of settling in when lads come over to a different environment,” assistant coach Paul Mariner said. “But these two have hit the ground running and done very well straight away. They have got the right attitude and they are a pleasure to work with because we know we can help to develop their games to a new level.”

1 comment:

Bob said...

A number of Africans are playing in USL as well. The Portland Timbers have Arsene Oka (Ivory Coast) and Lawrence Olum (Kenya) for example. African football continues to develop so it doesn't surprise me that more guys are making their way to North America.