Hanson Boakai is back in Edmonton.
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder returns home after five years of professional soccer in Europe. Boakai was once a young phenom for the club, and became the youngest player ever to play in a North American Soccer League (NASL) match when he suited up for the team at just 16 years of age.
In reuniting with Coach Paulus and his hometown team, the 5’4” Boakai looks to rejuvenate his career that showed so much promise as a youngster in the academy, and is looking to prove to the fans that both he and his game have matured during his time overseas.
This marks the fifth submission of our weekly Get To Know Thursdays series. You can read last week’s edition on midfielder Chance Carter here.
‘Dinho.’ I got that nickname a long time ago. My brother and my cousin used to like a player named Ronaldinho and they were surprised that I was so young and so good so they just randomly called me ‘Dinho’ and it just stuck to me. Now it’s something all my friends call me and I actually respond to it. It’s a name that I like because it comes from a great player. I take pride in the name.
WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER AND WHY DO YOU WEAR IT?:
This season I’m going to wear number 10. I like that number of course but for me I don’t really care about the number much. It’s a great number to have and everybody is also telling me to take number 10 (laughs).
I spent five years in Europe so before I left I was a kid and I had a different routine because I was living with my family. Before when it was wake up, go for a walk, eat my mom’s traditional food and just relax my mind and think about the game and what I’m going to do if I get the chance. Then I’d go to the game, drink a lot of water, and eat bananas.
When I was in Europe I’d have to do my own thing like cook for myself (laughs). So when I was in Europe most teams we’d be together from the beginning, you’d eat lunch together before the game and then we have a room we’d go to take a nap.
This year it’s going to be different. I live alone at the moment so I’m going to eat before the game, drink a lot of water the day before and the day of the game, eat a lot of fruits, and just relax my mind. Normally on game day making a meal takes a lot of energy if you’re living alone, but an easy thing to make is pasta. But the thing is here I have my parents who live close so I can easily go there and pick up the food.
It depends on the mood but the artists that I listen to are Drake, Migos, Tory Lanez, and Jay-Z. A lot of rappers. If I wake up and I’m going for a walk and I feel a certain way I’ll listen to a certain kind of music.
FAVOURITE SOCCER CLUB:
Madrid. Unfortunately my coach is not going to like this because he’s a Liverpool fan and he prefers all of us to cheer for Liverpool but I got to take my team this time (laughs). I just think for me they’re the top of the top. When you see the white jersey you get goosebumps. They’re a great great club. They have a good history, they won the most champions league. This year they were struggling a little bit but I know they’re a top club and they’re going to come back.
FAVOURITE SOCCER PLAYERS:
Mesut Özil. I’m not going to be a bandwagon and say a player who’s doing good right now. He’s not doing good right now but I’m going to stick with him. Before it was Ronaldinho but he’s not playing anymore.
WHAT’S THE MOST MEMORABLE GOAL OF YOUR SOCCER CAREER SO FAR?
We qualified for the Under-17 World Cup and we were playing against Costa Rica and I scored a great goal. I can still remember it for sure.
JOB OTHER THAN SOCCER PLAYER?:
I would be coaching but right now I have a lot of things I’m trying to do business wise. I’m trying to focus on this season. I’m big into fashion too, that’s one thing I know for sure I’m going to be doing after. Maybe start a clothing line.
IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH ANYONE, DEAD OR ALIVE, WHO WOULD IT BE?:
For sure Ronaldinho. I never got to see him play in real life, it’s pretty sad. He’s someone I’d love to meet.
HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR OFF DAYS?:
I’m a big family guy. People are going to be surprised about this but since I’ve been back I’ve been taking advantage of it especially now when you don’t have much to do. I spend a lot of time with the family. My sister has two kids now and my brother just had a kid last month so I just love to see the kids and the family.
FAVOURITE TV SHOW:
The Blacklist. That’s one I really like at the moment.
The Godfather, Scarface, and Blood Diamond.
FAVOURITE JUNK FOOD:
I’m not a big junk food guy. People may think I am but I’m not actually. I love traditional, homemade food. In Europe every country has a different culture and everywhere I went I got used to that culture. It was always different but I’m an open-minded guy, I’ll always try new foods out.
Stay tuned to fcedmonton.com and follow the club on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for the latest news throughout the off-season.