Long before Emmanuel Boateng was a member of the LA Galaxy, or even a college athlete, the winger was a promising young high school soccer player living in Santa Barbara, racking up awards at the Cate Academy.
Then this happened.
#TBT to 5yrs ago in high school when @landondonovan signed this for me. Seemed far-fetched then but here we are pic.twitter.com/C5Bevv4Yqy— Ema boateng (@Emaboateng) September 15, 2016
After winning the Gatorade 2011-12 National Boys Soccer High School Player of the Year award, the Ghanian spoke with Donovan, who in addition to the kind gesture spent some time advising Ema on his future.
Boateng cited Landon Donovan for helping reassure his decision on Tuesday.
“[Donovan] kept telling me that you can never make a bad decision,” Boateng said. “There will be a lot of decisions in the future, but I have to feel like I never made a bad decision - whatever I do is what I do to follow it up. If I keep working hard, there will more chances that come.
“Right now, I feel like [joining UCSB] was a great decision, and I will do whatever I can to back it up [in the fall].”
Donovan spent an hour with Boateng on Tuesday and imparted some wisdom on the young talent.
“He is an interesting story – where he is coming and where he is going,” Donovan said. “I told him to do what you want to do. You will have agents, friends, and others telling you what to do, but you should do what you want to do.
“I think he is going to be just fine.”
I think he turned out just fine too, Landon.