FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Midfielder Emmanuel Boateng played just one season under head coach Bruce Arena at the LA Galaxy in 2016, soaking in as much knowledge from the five-time MLS Cup champion as he could in that short span.
Boateng then continued his career with the Galaxy until 2019 – playing briefly under current Revolution technical director Curt Onalfo in 2017 – and has since played at D.C. United (2019-20) and Columbus Crew SC (2020). However, when the 26-year-old free agent had the chance to reunite with Arena at the New England Revolution this offseason, he jumped at the opportunity to continue learning from the most decorated coach in MLS history.
“Bruce is one of the best coaches I’ve ever had so [I’m excited for] having the opportunity to be in a group like [the Revolution],” said Boateng.
Boateng kept a close eye on the camaraderie and success that Arena has fostered in New England since arriving in 2019, particularly the solidarity displayed during the Revs' recent run to the 2020 Eastern Conference Final.
“I watched a lot of their games this year, just seeing how the team was playing, and thought I would be a really good fit to help,” said Boateng. “I watched them in their postgame celebrations, how they all cheered and are happy for each other through all of the playoffs, so I just wanted to be a part of that.”
That camaraderie, combined with the opportunity to play under Arena, led Boateng to his new home in New England. When the duo worked together in 2016, it left Boateng wanting more, and signing with the Revs was the perfect opportunity.
“Sadly, he left after a year,” Boateng said as he looked back on his time with Arena and the Galaxy. “I was actually really bummed about that ... I moved on and played for another two coaches, but obviously the experience with [Arena] really stuck with me.
“We still kept in touch his whole time coaching the national team and stuff, wishing each other well here and there. I’m definitely happy to continue the relationship and hopefully do well enough to keep everything going.”
Even though five years have passed since Arena originally signed Boateng to his roster in L.A., his message now is the same as then.
“[He told me] to come in and work hard,” said Boateng. “That was the same pitch he gave me before I signed with the Galaxy in 2016.
“He was like, ‘Hey, I can see you being in this. We know your speed and we know what you can bring to the team and I know you’re a good professional from what I hear. Now, from the experience that we’ve had together, too, just come in, work hard, and we’ll go from there. Nothing is going to be given to you. You have to come in just like everybody else on this team and work hard to earn your place.’
“That’s all I needed to hear.”