UCSB star Ema Boateng signs with Swedish first division

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Ema BoatengUC Santa Barbara star midfielder Ema Boateng won’t be returning for his sophomore campaign, opting to head to Europe instead.

The former Gatorade Player of the Year out of high school, Boateng made a huge impact in his first season at UCSB last fall, scoring four goals, three of which proved to be game changers in matches against UCLA, San Diego and Sacramento State.

According to a news release from the California college, the Ghana native has signed a professional contract with Helsingborgs IF, where former Boston College and Fairleigh Dickinson midfielder Alejandro Bedoya currently plays. The Swedish first division, known as Allsvenskan, also features former collegians Brian Span, a midfielder for Djurgårdens IF (Virginia) and Samuel Petrone, a forward for Mjällby AIF (Seton Hall, Clemson).

The 30th Gaucho to sign a professional contract after playing under head coach Tim Von Steeg, Boateng was recently named a pre-season first-team All-American by College Soccer News.

He joins North Carolina’s Danny Garcia, who signed a homegrown deal with FC Dallas prior to traveling with the U.S. Under-20s to the U-20 World Cup, as rising sophomores to sign professional contracts this summer.

Check out video HERE of one of Boateng’s proudest moments as a Gaucho, when he scored the equalizer on a scorching run against UCLA in front of 8,000 fans.

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