Midseason acquisition Kenny Mansally - a Gambian international and former New England Revolution player - offers us a window into his life in Utah in this edition of "10 things..."
As told to Zach Petersen
- So far everything is going great in Utah for me and I’m loving it. I’ve met some nice people. One thing I’ve noticed in Utah is that people are so friendly. Back in New England, usually I just stayed home more but when I came to Salt Lake, I started going out a little bit. Once I started going out, it’s more fun for me just meeting people and talking to them - how people love soccer, how people are so excited about soccer. Back in New England people love soccer, but I see more of it in Salt Lake than in New England.
- When I was in New England, they never knew that I played left back before. Ever since I played for Gambia, I played left back for my national team. Usually, when we need a goal I go forward, so the coach would push me up and I could hustle up front to get goals. In New England, I just played wide left and forward.
- I’m a Muslim and I fasted during Ramadan. It went great for me. It’s one month and is part of the Muslim calendar. Once it comes, there’s no excuse to take it away from me. I’ve been doing it ever since I was young. For me, Ramadan started when the season was going on but I kept fasting and going to training. I didn’t have a lot of hunger but I was thirsty. You have to fast from sunrise to sunset, so it’s not easy.
- The coaches were very supportive of me fasting. When I talked to them about it they told me that they trust everybody, respect everyone's religions and were fine with me doing it.
- I’m starting to like basketball. I’m trying to play around with my roommate. It’s very different from soccer. I think I should walk on my hands playing basketball. I remember one time I went to one of my friends and we were trying to play some basketball. Every time I shot I missed it. So I was like, “I should try it with me feet and see.” I took the basketball and kicked it with my feet and went through the first time, so I said, “I’m done for today.”
- I love watching American Football as well. I like watching the game on TV, especially watching the teams come out before the game starts and the movement they do in the big groups.
- New England attacker Sainey Nyassi was my roommate back with the Revs and we played for the U-17 & U-20 Gambian teams and we both signed the same time in New England. We had been roommates from 2003 up to 2012, when I moved from Boston to here. We were always roommates on the Gambian teams. He played wide right and I played wide left, so they always put us in the same room.
- I would say the U-17 World Cup is my best soccer memory. That was the first time Gambia had been to the World Cup at any age level. Our first game we played was against Brazil. Soccer is funny. You never know and you can’t predict how the world’s best teams can lose to a team from the middle of nowhere. Brazil scored, and then I scored. That was the first time Gambia had been to the World Cup and the first goal for the country. I will never forget it. We beat Brazil 3-1. Everybody was surprised and was like, “Where is Gambia?” If you saw Gambia on a map, you would probably say, “Is it a street?”
- Outside of soccer, I am so friendly. In soccer, I just come and do my job. Other than that, if I go out, people could come up to me. If you don’t come to me, I will come to you and say hi. I’m equal to everybody. I’m a funny guy and like to make jokes and to play with kids. That’s what I do.
- I would say hiking is my favorite thing to do in Utah. Even in Gambia, they don’t have these kinds of mountains – not in Boston, either. When I came here, I saw the mountains and I was like, “Wow, I should go there.” It’s more fitness for me. It’s kind of like I am doing an extra training, but I love it.