When David Accam received the news of the passing of his father back home in Ghana earlier this week, the Philadelphia Union forward had a decision to make.
“The club asked me if I wanted to go back for my dad’s funeral, but I told them this was the only thing that gives me joy,” Accam said after the Union’s 3-0 Week 4 win over Columbus Crew SC. “It’s tough going home. So I left everything on the field. I put my emotions and everything it would take to give the club.”
The result: two goals and an assist as the Ghanaian factored in all of his team’s goals. He celebrated his goals by pointing to the heavens, dropping to his knees on the first one, clearly overcome by emotion.
“It wasn’t planned,” Accam said of his celebration. “I just scored and everything just came out. I felt emotional and I knew my dad was watching this game wherever he is.”
His father, Michael, was an accountant who didn’t know much about soccer, according to his son. He passed away following a battle with cancer.
“He didn’t [get to see me play]. That’s why I’m really sad because I was planning to bring him here this year to watch some of our games,” Accam said. “But unfortunately it didn’t happen. So today was for him.”
The goals also represented redemption for Accam, who scored just one goal in 2018 after the big trade that saw him move from the Chicago Fire to Philadelphia. He wasn't even expecting to be starting against Columbus in Week 4 even with Jamaican forward Cory Burke away on national team duty.
“[The Union have] given me a chance and they’ve been patient with me with all these injuries and what happened last year. I just want to be here and help the club.”
“I feel much better than I was last year," Accam said. "I can sprint with less or no pains and I feel more flexible and looser in the hips. I feel much, much better than I was.
“I think everything’s in the past. I’m just looking forward to playing again. I’m feeling much better. I had a great preseason. For me, I just want to get the chances on the field and do what I can do best.”