POKU GRATEFUL FOR NPSL EXPERIENCE IN CLIMB TO MLS STARDOM

New York City FC midfielder Kwadwo Poku has climbed the ranks of American soccer

After making waves in both the NPSL and NASL, New York City FC midfielder Kwadwo Poku has climbed the ranks of American soccer and is now starring alongside soccer legends David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, and Frank Lampard.

“It’s been a different experience, different teams, different coaches, different players,” Poku said about his unlikely rise in American soccer. “It was a good experience for me.”

Poku started his American soccer journey in 2011 with NPSL side Georgia Revolution. He led the Revolution in scoring in both 2012 and 2013, including a team-high seven assists in 2013.

Some of Poku’s best performances have been during the U.S. Open Cup, a competition which puts teams at every level of American soccer against each other. Poku scored a hat trick in the Revolution’s 4-3 win against the Real Colorado Foxes in 2013.

In 2014, Poku moved to the NASL and the Atlanta Silverbacks, there he scored two goals in 25 appearances, but once again made a huge impact in the U.S. Open Cup for the second straight year. In the fourth round, Poku scored the game-winner in the 91st minute to upset MLS side Real Salt Lake.

Poku’s time in the NASL and NPSL showed just how physically gifted he is. In highlight videos, Poku dominates with his ability to not only outmuscle but outrun his opponents. He’d often push past any markers and outpace them for open runs. He often displayed clever dribbling skills. On one particular play in his highlight video with the Georgia Revolution, Poku dribbled and muscled his way through three defenders, who all fell over each other, with one even receiving a yellow card despite Poku maintaining possession.

Poku clearly made a great impression in Atlanta as Andy Smith, General Manager of the Silverbacks, sees Poku as a special player and person.

“Poku was a revelation — just an unreal soccer player and an even better human being,” Smith said. “He’s the type of person that addresses everyone he meets as ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ and he’s never out of line or late or disruptive in general. But when he’s on the field, he’s an animal; no matter where he is playing he looks like a man amongst boys.”

“It’s always been my dream to be one of the top players in the world. I just need to work hard, get on the field and show what I can do.”

The Ghanaian’s journey has moved even higher as NYCFC acquired his rights from Seattle Sounders FC and Poku was added to the team’s inaugural MLS roster. So far, Poku has done what he has done at every level: make plays.

Poku has scored four goals along with notching seven assists for NYCFC. Recently Poku scored both goals in NYCFC’s 2-2 draw in Columbus, a performance which quickly catapulted him to receiving league-wide attention.

Even when he doesn’t score, Poku still seems to make a positive impact on his team. In games where he starts, NYCFC is 4-1-1, where they are 3-11-6 when he is not in the starting eleven. Poku has received high praise from fans, reporters, and others around the league.

One particular instance came after Poku’s brace in Columbus, where Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter had high praise for the up-and- coming midfielder, calling him “one of the best players in the league.”

However, Poku’s dreams extend even further than being one of the best players in the MLS.

“It’s always been my dream to be one of the top players in the world. I just need to work hard, get on the field and show what I can do.”

Andy Smith saw this kind of potential in Kwadwo Poku from the beginning, and doesn’t see his rise slowing anytime soon.

“His current performance is not surprising in the least, in fact, his current level is nowhere near his ceiling. Poku and his career will certainly be something to watch.”

For now, all anyone can do is sit back and watch Poku continue to work to achieve his dream.  And it all started in the NPSL with the Georgia Revolution.

Other Articles

League News
League News