Los Angeles Soccer: Ema Boateng

PREPS: Cate midfielder is nation's best

May, 17, 2012
Ghanaian forward Ema Boateng, a boarding student at Cate School in Carpinteria, was announced Thursday as the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Boateng, 18, scored 32 goals with 19 assists to lead Cate to a 20-2-1 mark and the CIF-Southern Section Division 7 championship and win a second straight divisional Player of the Year honor.

“I’m very overwhelmed,” Boateng told ESPNHS. “I did not see this coming. I’m looking at the list of names of athletes who’ve won this before, and I can’t believe I’m anywhere near this list. I can’t believe I’m on it.”

National Soccer Hall of Famer Alexi Lalas, who won the Gatorade Michigan Player of the Year award in 1988, presented the award to Boateng. Previous winners include another Hall of Famer, Claudio Reyna, plus former U.S. national-teamer Chris Henderson, former MLS stars Matt McKeon, Nick Garcia, Kyle Martino and Alecko Eskandarian, and current MLS players Ned Grabavoy (Real Salt Lake), Jordan Harvey (Vancouver Whitecaps), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Eric Alexander (Portland Timbers) and Soony Saad (Sporting Kansas City).

Harvey, who played at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo and then at UCLA, won in 2002

Boateng, who carries a 3.75 grade-point average, is a junior but has enough credits to qualify for the NCAA and will play at UC Santa Barbara in the fall.

How good is he?

“In the 14 years I’ve been coaching in Southern California, I haven’t seen anybody close to as good as Ema,” Vishtasp Farhadi, the Development Academy co-director for Irvine Strikers, said in Gatorade's news release. “In terms of maturity and soccer IQ, he’s a very special player. He’s uniquely creative and has amazing vision.

"At the international Milk Cup in Ireland last summer, he became the only American to earn MVP honors in the 30-year history of that tournament. That puts him in the company of people like Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Giovani dos Santos at the same age. Pretty good company.”

Read the full ESPNHS story here.

PREPS: Los Osos rises -- to No. 1?

March, 4, 2012
Tamia Hasan scored 10 minutes into the second half, and Los Osos High School held off a late Sunny Hills charge to win the CIF Southern Section Division 2 championship Saturday night at Mission Viejo High School.

A No. 1 national ranking might come with it.

Los Osos, from Rancho Cucamonga, came into the game at No. 2 in the ESPNHS Fab 50 national rankings, and the Grizzlies (23-0-3) figure to rise after its 1-0 triumph. No. 1 Westview, from San Diego, was beaten by Carlsbad's La Costa Canyon in the CIF San Diego Section's Division II title game.

No. 5 Aliso Niguel, from Aliso Viejo, also could vault to the front after beating No. 4 San Clemente -- the only team it had lost to this season -- in Friday night's Southern Section Division 1 final. Carroll, from Southlake, Texas, is No. 3 in ESPN's winter rankings.

Los Osos was officially the underdog, seeded second, behind Fullerton's Sunny Hills (30-1-0), but they took charge after halftime as forward Ifeoma Onumonu sent in the ball for Hasan to finish.

“I haven't stopped crying yet,” Los Osos coach Mychal Armstrong told the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. “These girls are such a great group. They deserve this.”

In other Southern Section finals Saturday:

Claremont 2, Bishop Amat 0: Goalkeeper Amanda Garvin made three spectacular saves and the Wolfpack (27-1-4) extended their shutout streak to seven games while winning the girls Division 3 championship, played, like all of the Southern Section girls finals, at Mission Viejo. Defender Taylor Fortson nodded home a corner kick in the 28th minute and Merin Arft tallied at the start of the second half to send Claremont past defending champion Bishop Amat (22-5-4), from La Puente.

(Read full post)