AUSTIN (KXAN) — In the spring, Kekuta Manneh called his signing with Austin FC a “no brainer.” Several months and 15 matches later, Manneh is just as satisfied after all of this time spent with the black and green.
“It’s been fun, it’s been amazing, it’s been incredible,” Manneh said during a media availability on Tuesday afternoon.
Those superlatives are no surprise when you consider the fact that the forward originally from Bakau, Gambia, spent several years of his life in Austin, attending Lake Travis High School and playing with the Lone Star Academy soccer program.
“For me, it’s nice to be close to family, you know, that’s what I wanted,” Manneh explained. “I thought this was a great chance to come home and be able to be close to my family and see them all of the time…for them not to have to travel to come to games.”
It’s been quite some time since he had been living regularly in Austin so the change was a welcome one.
“I was away for about nine years, so it’s nice to be home and I’m loving every single moment of it,” Manneh added.
This time around has been a much different experience for Manneh who has matured quite a bit on and off the field since the last time he lived in Austin.
“When I was younger, I couldn’t even drive back then, so I didn’t really get to explore the city, I didn’t really do much,” Manneh explained. “Now being able to explore that, especially with the guys, going out to Zilker Park, going to Lady Bird Lake, going kayaking, and going out to eat in cafes, it’s been amazing.”
Now that Manneh is more familiar with the area, he says he’s more familiar with his Austin FC teammates and coaches.
“I can’t say enough good things about the club, the city, the guys that are here. I think the club did a really really great job,” Manneh said. “Because I’ve been in a couple of environments, and I think this is one of the top ones for sure.”
Manneh is getting more chances on the pitch, he’s played 11 of the 15 matches, starting two games. However, he has yet to score his first goal with Austin FC but he’ll certainly get plenty more chances to change that if he stays healthy.
Austin FC returns to action Saturday when they host Colorado at Q2 Stadium. You can watch the match on the CW Austin starting at 8 p.m.