When Ema Boateng played for University of California Santa Barbara last year as a freshman, he was obviously a step above the level. He played as a winger and outside back for Tim Vom Steeg’s Gauchos, cutting up opponents and delighting crowds with his footskills.
So when he went on trial with Helsingborgs IF in the Swedish top division this summer, there was always a chance he would not come back. He signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with the Allsvenskan club in July.
In just his third appearance and second start for the club, Boateng netted two goals in Helsingborgs’ 4-0 win over Härnosänd in the Swedish Cup on Thursday. His goals came in the 31st and 55th minutes, making the score 2-0 and 3-0, respectively.
A native of Kumasi, Ghana, Boateng graduated from the Right To Dream Academy in his home nation before being named the national 2012 Gatorade Soccer Player of the Year while he played at Cate High School in Santa Barbara, Calif. The 19-year-old, listed at 5 feet, 6 inches tall and 150 pounds on the UCSB soccer website, scored four goals and added four assists in his 18-game college career.