Higher education at stake for Crew's Nyamekye

Harvard grad could head overseas to find playing time

OBETZ, Ohio – Kwaku Nyamekye might have the smarts to someday possibly own a soccer team. Right now, however, he would just like to be a part of one.

The economics major graduated from Harvard University in May after delaying a chance to make the Crew roster. He was selected in the fourth round (60th overall) of the 2010 MLS SuperDraft in January, but with the encouragement of the team he decided to finish his schooling before embarking on a pro career.

“We told him, ‘If you’ve got a Harvard education on the line, I don’t blame you,’” Crew technical director Brian Bliss said.

Nyamekye, who was born and raised in Switzerland to Ghanaian parents, knew he was taking a bit of a risk not trying out with the Crew immediately, but felt it was necessary one.

“I figured I had made it that far three-and-a-half years in,” he said. “It would be sort of unfortunate to postpone my academic career indefinitely for soccer, that it would be best to get that out of the way to focus fulltime on soccer.”

He came to Columbus in mid-June and played in an exhibition against the Premier Development League’s Dayton Dutch Lions on June 19.

Nyamekye said he was not intimidated training with the Crew because he spent part of the past winter break from Harvard practicing with the Glasgow Rangers of the Scottish Premier League.

“I stayed there roughly two weeks,” he said. “It was a pretty good experience. It was sweet to see the level and compare where I’m at and what I need to work on to get around to that level.”

The 22 year-old defender has the size (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) and speed the Crew like, but the club does not have roster space to sign him.

“It’s really been prohibitive for us to make a change or changes to accommodate him, especially because we’re still on the hunt to find a striker to replace Sergio [Herrera],” Bliss said. “We don’t have the roster flexibility.”

Nyamekye said his agent has been in contact with the Crew about a short-term deal somewhere else, possibly Norway.

“We’re looking potentially elsewhere temporarily and staying in touch with the Crew and seeing if they can propose something down the line,” Nyamekye said.

Bliss made it clear the Crew want to sign him in the offseason, putting Nyamekye in the same category of several of their young center backs.

“We like [Nyamekye],” Bliss said. “At that age, he’s inexpensive. I don’t see him coming in and starting, but he’s got an upside as much as [Eric] Brunner when he came in or Andy Iro when he came.”