Tampa Bay Rowdies completed their regular season in 2nd place meaning a semi-final birth is guaranteed for the NASL play offs. Following their goalless draw with Carolina Railhawks I caught up with Ghanaian warrior Evans Frimpong to talk all things soccer and how ex Wimbledon striker Carl Cort is fitting into the Tampa Bay jigsaw. Exclusive to www.soccernightexclusive.wordpress.com

For all the British readers who are unfamiliar with you. How would you describe your playing style and your strengths ?

My playing style is more attacking with speed and I have great feet when in possession of the ball. I would say my strengths are my speed and quickness with the ball.

What age and how did you get into soccer ?

I started playing soccer when I was 4 years old, I got into soccer because my uncle back in Ghana was a big soccer player back in the day and he always took me along to his games. Since then I fell in love with the game and never looked back.

Have you always wanted to become a professional soccer player ?

Yes I have always wanted to become a soccer player at professional level, it has been a dream of mine since I was little.

Who would you say was your biggest inspiration growing up as a soccer player and why ?

Abedi Pele, he was one of Ghana’s finest players and a great leader with the national team. He always played big in games when the team needed him.

What age was you when you moved to the USA from Ghana ?

I moved at the age of 17

How are you settling into the way of life in America ?

It’s a good way of life here and there is a wide range of opportunities in this country. Especially if you’re willing to work for it then anything can be achieved, so to me I’m enjoying it and making the most of it.

What is your overall verdict on the standard of soccer in the NASL ?

To be fair the NASL is a really good league and has a lot of good players as well as foreign players that have played in the big leagues in Europe. So it helps with the development of the younger players, in order to become one of the best players in this country.

Tampa Bay Rowdies have qualified for the NASL semi-finals after finishing 2nd. In your opinion how has the season gone ?

The season has gone pretty well, we have managed to acquire many shutouts and unbeaten streaks. So it’s been really good, but I’ am just hoping for the big one which is winning the whole thing.

Can the Rowdies achieve NASL success ?

Yes, I say that because we have a great bunch of players who always bring out their best when called upon to represent the team. And that is what makes a successful team in my opinion.

You moved to Tampa Bay in May. What were your targets for this season and have you managed to achieve these targets ?

I have achieved my targets. When I first got here I saw that the team was stacked with good players and my target was to break into the first team. However it took me long due to the solidarity of the team and every player was very good. But with hard work I saw myself starting and I’m really happy. As I was a part of the long unbeaten streaks, but I would like to achieve more goal scoring success though.

Carl Cort has spent the majority of his playing career in England. He recently moved to Tampa Bay. How has he settled in ?

He has settled in good, he is a fantastic player and a good person of the field of play too. Carl is always willing to help the young professional players who are looking to break into the first team setup.

What would you say are his strengths and what does he bring to the team ?

I would say he’s got nice feet and holds the ball up well. Also he is very clinical in his finishing. He brings a lot of visibility to our front line enabling him to involve others into the game. Carl is also an unselfish player who is willing to invite others to score.

Head Coach Ricky Hill is a born Englishman. How would you describe his playing philosophy and his attributes as a person too ?

He is a great coach with a lot of coaching skills. To me I think he is up there, with the way he conducts his practices and the way he gets us prepared for games. Also he is always encouraging us to work hard and it pays off. He is a father figure to everyone in the team and has a good relationship with each and every player.

In 2012 you was picked by Chicago Fire in the Supplemental Draft. But weren’t signed. Would you ever consider a move to the MLS ?

I would consider a move there yes most definitely. But for the time being I won’t rush into any decision as I am enjoying playing for the Rowdies and getting more experience playing regularly. But when the right time appears I’d happily take it.

What would you say have been you highlights thus far in a Tampa Bay Rowdies jersey ?

I will say it was against Puerto Rico Islanders, I managed to create a penalty in that game. (laugh)

Where would you like to see your career in five years’ time ?

I see myself playing in Europe in the coming years.

What advice would you give to any youngsters who are keen to follow in your footsteps ?

I would say, work hard and play hard because at the end of the day the outcome will be greater if you put the hard work in. Also they shouldn’t give up on their childhood dream of becoming a professional soccer player because everything in this world is possible.

Teammates

Loudest

Draymond Washington

Quietest

I’d have to say myself.

Best Friend

Fafa Picault

Most Intelligent

Keith Savage

Least Intelligent

Thurstan Johnson

Most Skilful

Me, Dan O’Brien, Shane Hill and Fafa Picault

Best Trainer

Stuart Campbell and Yamada Takuya

Worse Trainer

Thurstan Johnson

Worse Taste In Music

Fafa Picault because he is always listening to Bachata

Worse Dress Sense

Daniel Antoniuk (he tries but still)

I would like to send my thanks to Evans for his time and efforts during the interview process.

By Anthony Bedworth

@maplesoccer123

@usbritain05

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