Growing up [in Ghana], that's all we did was play soccer 24/7, every single day, and we used to play bare feet, and, you know, floor conditions weren't so great. It was just dirt, and there would be little patches of, like, grass here and there, and just a lot of stones, rocks, laying around everywhere. You used to cut your feet up all the time, you know, with the broken glasses laying around and stuff like that, but we still went out. Back then, it was just all fun.

I would watch as players played on TV and try and imitate them when I went out there on the field. And that's how I basically developed my individual aspect, really, of the game. When I reached, I think, like 6 or something, the older kids in the neighborhood would pick the younger kids, and I think they actually put money on it, and we would play against each other, and they would make money off of us. I did get picked first, but not every time, because, you know, there would be some kid that would come around, and people would be, like, "Oh, this kid's good." So you'd go out to the field, and he'd get picked first. And, obviously, I was mad. I wanted to be first all the time.

It was when I came here [the United States], when I started playing for the regional team, that I actually learned to say, "Now, I could go somewhere." Some of the guys from the other teams, they're just, like: "You know, this isn't a boy's game anymore. This is a man's game. You better come ready to play." I'm just, like, "Be quiet, Pops." I just think it's funny, you know? People will do anything to get me in the head. Sometimes I just keep my mouth shut, and sometimes I say something back -- especially when we're winning.

I haven't been back [to Ghana] ever since I've been here. I'm planning on going back this offseason to go visit -- my mom and I. It's a private trip. I'm going to go over there and go show them up. I'm ready for that. I've got to get used to being barefoot again. It'll probably hurt a lot more now than it did before.

-- Interview by Patricia Murret