Sports News of Sunday, 27 December 2015
New York City FC midfielder Kwadwo Poku has spoken about his meteoric rise to prominence after some earlier struggles in the United States.
The 23-year-old Ghanaian-born now rubs shoulders with some of the world’s best footballers at the Yankee Stadium, including former Chelsea star Frank Lampard and Juventus legend Andrea Pirlo.
Poku joined New York City in January and has since produced a string of fine performances in Major League Soccer – his first experience in topflight football. He is currently on loan at Wilmington Hammerheads.
“Sometimes, I don’t know what to say, how to thank them [New York City FC],” Poku told MLS Soccer.
“I’m living the American dream, living something I’ve always wanted to live, to play professional soccer.
“If I was doing something outside soccer, I don’t think I’d be happy like this.”
Poku scored four goals and made seven assists in 27 appearances playing alongside star teammates Lampard, Pirlo and ex-Barcelona striker David Villa.
“Villa always believes in me at practice or in games, giving me signals to the sidelines on what I have to do.
“Frank talks to me and says: ‘You need to get here, you need to find this. They can’t stop you.’
“Pirlo tells me: ‘You will get the ball more. I want you on the ball more.’”
A former Asante Kotoko youth player, Poku travelled to the USA in 2010 to pursue college education and soccer.
However, having failed to land an admission, partially due to financial constraints coupled with poor grades, the forward was faced with the situation of being sent back home with time running out on his student visa.
After a series of rejections from a number of lower tier and topflight clubs, Poku finally joined NPSL side Georgia Revolution in 2011, from where he transferred to Atlanta Silverbacks en route to New York City.
He made his senior Ghana debut in a 1-1 draw with Canada in an exhibition game last October.