What can we say about Solo? His playing style is the definition of all that’s good in soccer. Besides that, breaking records, he’s established his name into US Soccer in a very amazing way. A way that doesn’t seems to change his humility and passion not a bit. Phoenix Rising’s captain and symbol of the USL gave us the time to talk about his past, his present and his future:
Solomon, we wanted to know how are doing through your day by day during this stop. How do you stay trained waiting for the restart of the season?
It is not been easy since we stopped playing. It’s been like two months. It´s not easy, as a soccer player, to haven’t got the opportunity to go out and practice so i’ve been indoors as much as i could always trying to keep myself busy and working out. Good work out and also trying to eat in a healthy way.
Are you still connected to your teammates and the coaching staff?
Oh yeah! i keep talking to all my teammates and the coaches, you know. We are connected. We do some Zoom calls. I am the Captain of the team so i try to call all of the players on the roster to check on them and try to advice them to keep focus. Yes, we are really connected.
What was it like growing up in Ghana … How do you feel football there?
Growing up in Ghana was good, you know. It wasn’t easy as a young boy like going to practice and just know that i had to come back home to help my parents. You know that Africa is quite different from America. When i was a boy i just had to stay home, help my parents, and then try to effort as much as i can to be good at practice. It was quite ok but honestly not that easy. But as time went by i thank all that struggle because that made what i am today.
You were able to play in both the Burkina Faso and Ghana national teams, two teams with different international importance, what did you get from those experiences?
Well… Those experiences we pretty different. Burkina Faso is a french speaking country so it wasn’t easy for me. Back then i couldn’t speak fluent french and then it was hard but i thank them, it was really great for me because gave me a lot of internacional experience. I could see and play against a lot of top players, to meet and learn from them. Then playing for Ghana it was one of the greatest things that happened to me. I got the chance to play the World Cup qualifiers, the Africa Cup, i think i played it twice, i think i learnt a lot, you know. It was and it is amazing playing for the national team, my value went up, my name is well known, it made me super happy.
After playing in Africa for some years, you went to the United States, how was that jump?
Playing in Africa for quite a long time was good, it helped my style, had great achievements, i played in 2015 Clubs World Cup in Japan which was very nice, i got some awards back home and also got quite a few championships there. So it was so great but i knew back then that i would have to leave one day. When i came here it was such a new and great adventure, a new challenge, so i talked to myself and said “Hey, you had been successful in Africa so got to give your best to do the same in America”. So i did, i showed people that i could do well here, you know.
The 2019 Phoenix season, although it didn’t finish with the championship, was incredible. Breaking records in all fields … how do you stay motivated to go for more after such a season?
2019 was a very good season for me as a player and also as a part of a team. We did very well. We were always motivated and me, as a captain, tried always to encouriging the guys to do better. When we were winning, that 20 games streak, it felt just amazing. That winning feeling is just amazing for a soccer player. We were always trying to take game after game, taking everything seriously in practice and we were not relaxed. We knew what we were doing and wanted more. I can tell you that we kept saying to ourselves that it wasn’t enough and that streak was absolutely amazing. Such a great achievement. Everyone was happy, pushing and grinding his best to make that great season happen. I think we can easily use that experience to go back for more, you know.
Add to that, your season was wonderful, you broke records for most goals and assists, you were MVP, do you have any achievements yet to reach?
Yes, i was very happy. I worked hard to all those achievements. But, honestly, i did all because the team was too good. I coudn’t do it alone. It was all about the team. One thing i know is that when the team is determined, definitely, the talent will show. So i tried as much as possible to be a team player. All i did was helping the team. All i know is that. The individuals will come out if the team is working. I’m still very happy to had reach those awards but also got to give all the credit to my teammates and coaches. They gave me that possibility.
How do you see the future of USL and soccer in the United States?
I believe is going to be great. America’s got a lot of talented players, the facilities are great, the pitches are good. They’re always advancing, they’re doing so much work, they’re learning, they’re learning so fast. I think american Soccer is going to grow fast so i like being here, they understand soccer and respect the game so i think Soccer here has a great future.