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Emma Boateng Profile

Ema Boateng 2013
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Right to Dream Academy, UC Santa Barbara(USA) Helsingborg

He landed in the United States in 2009, at age 15, to attend Cate School, a private prep school in Carpentaria, after Right to Dream Academy identified him as one of the top 16 players in Ghana and fully funded his high school education in the United States.
Boateng, wasted little time making his mark on UCSB’s soccer team. He made an immediate impact in his first season last fall, scoring four goals, three of which were crucial game changers against UCLA, San Diego, and Sacramento State. Recognized as Big West’s Freshman of the Year and First Team All-Big West, he has quickly risen to Gaucho stardom.
“When I was nine, my coach would come to my house,” he said. Even though he was so young, his parents worried he’d give up on school entirely to play soccer. But the Academy lets him do both. Unlike some of the corrupt agents that exist in Africa, the Academy is a credible organization and has given more than 100 kids from Ghana the opportunity to obtain scholarships from colleges in the U.S. or play on professional soccer teams around the world.
The Academy also set Boateng up with the Schwartzes, his host family of two parents and three teenage “siblings” in Carpinteria. A big part of the family now, they continue to see each other weekly. They’ve scheduled family vacations to Hawaii, Beaver Creek, and Europe around his soccer commitments and included him in their family photo for their yearly Christmas card. They even took a trip to Ghana two summers ago where they met the entire family. He recalled, “My parents were so happy to meet them and thank them.”
While attending Cate School for three years, Boateng led the soccer team in every game, which had a combined 42-2-1 record during his sophomore and junior year. Also, he was named VIP in the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland where he played for the California Strikers in 2011. He was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in 2012. He skipped his senior year of high school to attend UCSB.
Despite scholarship offers from Princeton, Stanford, and Yale, he chose UCSB because he said he believed it was the best place to pursue his professional career. Plus, he’s been part of the S.B. community for years.
“UCSB is where I thought I could become more of myself,” he said. After visiting the East Coast one winter, Boateng explained, “I had to wear three or four sweatshirts. I’m not into that.” So Santa Barbara has become home. “I couldn’t imagine leaving,” said Boateng, who returned to Cate’s graduation ceremony a few weeks ago to receive an honorary diploma.