They may not have any picks in Thursday’s portion of the MLS SuperDraft, but that hasn’t stopped the LA Galaxy from making some of the biggest moves of the day.
After acquiring Targeted Allocation Money from the Colorado Rapids in exchange for the 12th-overall pick and announcing the free agent signing of Mike Magee, LA made yet another move, signing 21-year-old Ghanaian midfielder Emmanuel Boateng from Swedish club Helsingborgs.
“Emmanuel is a talented, young, attacking player who will add valuable depth to our offense,” said LA Galaxy head coach and general manager Bruce Arena in a team statement. “He will continue to develop as a player and we are excited to add him to our roster.”
Boateng actually spent some of his teenage years in Southern California, moving there in 2009 through the Right to Dream Academy, which helps Ghanaian athletes pursue academic and soccer opportunities around the world.
He attended the Cate School in Carpinteria, Calif., where he was a teammate of No. 2 overall SuperDraft pick Joshua Yaro, winning the 2012 Gatorade National High School Player of the Year award and graduating a year early to enroll at the University of California-Santa Barbara.
During his time at the Cate School, Boateng featured for local club sides Santa Barbara Soccer Club and South Coast Strikers. In 2011, he was named MVP of the prestigious Milk Cup, an international youth soccer tournament featuring the world’s brightest young talent.
He was also named the CIF Southern Division 7 Player of the Year in both 2011 and 2012, leading his team to a 42-2-1 record and CIF Southern Division 7 Championships in both years. In his final season at Cate School, the Ghanaian scored 32 goals and added 19 assists. Boateng was a dual-sport star, featuring in track and reaching the quarterfinals in the 100 and 200 meters in the 2011 CIF Southern Division.
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He spent one season at UCSB, and played for USL PDL side Ventura County Fusion before signing with Helsingborgs in the summer of 2013.
Boateng made 37 appearances in two-and-a-half years with the five-time Swedish champions, playing 21 games and scoring four goals in 2015. The 5-foot-6 midfielder actually received some counsel from Landon Donovan when he left the Cate School in 2012, with the LA Galaxy legend sitting down with Boateng as he considered returning to Cate, enrolling at UCSB or turning pro, reportedly with Manchester City.