Emmanuel Boateng - LA Galaxy - Dribbling upfield

CARSON, Calif.—LA Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena knew he was adding some speed on the wing when he acquired Emmanuel Boateng from Sweden’s Helsingborgs IF in January. Whether he had the ability to earn a consistent starting spot in the Galaxy’s deep lineup remained to be seen.


But after starting Boateng for the second time last week, Arena said Friday he's been pleased with the young winger’s growth, as they head into Week 9's matchup with Sporting KC. 


“He’s made good progress,” Arena said. “I think, like all new players in the league, it takes a little bit of time. One would anticipate that he keeps improving and growing.”


The 22-year-old Ghanaian showed his mettle on Saturday in LA’s 5-2 victory over Real Salt Lake, notching a goal and two assists on his way to being named the MLS Player of the Week.

Emmanuel Boateng impressing LA Galaxy: "He has all the talent in the world" - Emmanuel Boateng

“It’s definitely a huge honor, for sure,” Boateng said. “I’m excited for what the future holds, and hopefully I can work harder every day, and get better.”


Joining the Galaxy represents a dream come true for Southern California native Boateng. During high school and college in the Santa Barbara area, Boateng watched and attended a lot of MLS games. Now, not only is he suiting up for the Galaxy, he’s sharing the pitch with childhood hero Steven Gerrard.


“It’s crazy," said Boateng, whose giant smile indicates his disbelief at suiting up alongside the Liverpool FC and England legend, whom Boateng has been a fan of since age 11. "Definitely a huge plus, playing with him, and it’s been fun.”


Boateng says he’s learned a lot since arriving, especially about the strengths of his teammates and how he can contribute each time he’s on the pitch.


The Galaxy veterans – Gerrard included – have been imparting advice and guidance, telling him when to make runs and helping him build confidence.


“Ema’s a great player,” said forward Gyasi Zardes. “He’s very fast, and he’s progressing day in and day out. You can see it in training, he’s just getting better each and every single day.”


Said forward Mike Magee, who scored against RSL on Saturday off of a Boateng cross into the box: “He’s got all the talent in the world, and he’s a great teammate. His speed is not easy for other teams to deal with, so now that he has the confidence, he can hopefully get rolling a little bit.”


The future seems bright for Boateng, but the young winger tries to focus on the present, holding fast to a “team-first” mindset.


“I hope I can keep impacting games and help the team moving forward,” Boateng said. “I can’t predict anything over a year or so, so I just have to take it game by game.”