Alumnus Edward Opoku '15 had an incredible MLS debut
on Saturday, July 21; helping his team, the Columbus Crew SC
, secure an unexpected victory after trailing behind throughout the second half and starting a viral social media movement.
After a frustrating game, which saw the Columbus Crew SC trailing 2-1 in the second half, head coach Gregg Berhalter called two of his newest players, one being Opoku '15, off of the bench. Entering the game in less-than-ideal conditions did not phase Opoku '15, who is said to have "managed the pressure of the situation like a professional," adding speed along the wing and putting his opponent's defense under consistent pressure. The result was a dramatic 3-2 victory and a memorable MLS debut for Opoku '15.
“It was amazing. To be able to come into a game where you are losing 2-1 and to have such a dramatic end to the game, that’s what every player dreams of making their debut in. I will never forget that game because of how it was. It was just amazing," he said after the game.
A dispute broke out between the two teams following captain Wil Trapp's game-winning goal, and after checking on his teammates, Opoku '15 began juggling the ball on his head, which turned into a social media sensation. "I went onto social media [after the match] and it just blew up," he said.
Fans began posting to their own personal social media accounts about how impressive and entertaining Opoku's '15 choice was in that moment.
"A whole fight breaks out (for the third time) and @edward_opoku
is still happy," posted Julie Hoolie
on Twitter. Fans launched a #BeHappy challenge in support of one of Opoku's '15 favorite hashtags and mottos, which asks that people post a photo of themselves or others balancing a soccer ball on their head.
It is no surprise to those at Millbrook who know Opoku '15 well that he thrived under pressure and that fans were receptive to his undeniable positive energy during his very special MLS debut. During his time as a Mustang, Opoku '15 scored 80 goals, served up 30 assists, and totaled 110 points (a Millbrook record). He was also a WNEPSSA all-select player each of his 4 years at Millbrook. He went on to play for the Division I Virginia Cavaliers, where he earned All-ACC honors during his first two seasons, which included being named to the ACC-All Freshman Team. In his first two years at the University of Virginia, Opoku '15 played in 36 games, starting in all but three. He was second on his team in goals scored during the 2016 season with a total of six, five of which served as game-winners. He was first on his team in goals scored this past season with a total of eight, three of which were game-winners. In his '16-'17 season Edward was also selected for 2nd Team All-American by the USCAA.
With the memories of his truly outstanding professional debut behind him, Opoku '15 is now looking ahead to what is next and is dedicated as ever to helping his team succeed. "It’s to see the team do well,” he said of his goals to Massive Report, “just be able to help the team as much as I can.”
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