Kekuta Manneh

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Kekuta Manneh
Kekuta Manneh 11 April 2015.jpg
Personal information
Date of birth (1994-12-30) 30 December 1994 (age 22)
Place of birth Bakau, The Gambia
Height 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Playing position Forward, winger
Club information
Current team
Columbus Crew SC
Number 19
Youth career
2010–2011 Texas Rush
2011–2012 Lonestar SC
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2009–2010 Steve Biko 12 (17)
2012 Austin Aztex 12 (10)
2013–2017 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 101 (22)
2017– Columbus Crew SC 16 (4)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23 September 2017.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 13 April 2013

Kekuta Manneh (born 30 December 1994) is a Gambian footballer who plays for Columbus Crew SC in Major League Soccer as a striker.

Club career[edit]

Youth and amateur[edit]

Manneh began his career at the several youth academies, including Gilcock Academy, in Gambia before moving to the GFA League First Division, the nation's top league.[1] After leaving Africa in 2010, Manneh led second-division Georgia Rush to the state cup quarter-finals and played for Texas Rush before signing with Lonestar Soccer Club, another youth club from Texas, for the 2011 season. Both clubs compete as part of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. In 2010, Manneh scored 35 goals in 23 matches for the Rush. Because of his performance with the Rush, Manneh was named to the 2010 Disney’s Soccer Showcase All-Star Team and was given a week-long training stint with the Chelsea F.C. academy.[1] For Lonestar SC, Manneh scored 21 goals in 16 matches.[2] In October 2011, Manneh was observed by a scout from Arsenal in a match against the FC Dallas Development Academy.[3] Following his successful season with Lonestar Soccer Club, Manneh signed for the Austin Aztex of the Premier Development League and scored 10 goals in 12 regular season matches,[4] including a 4-goal performance against the Texas Dutch Lions on matchday 5.[5]


Kekuta Manneh at Avaya Stadium.jpg

Before coming to the United States in 2010, Manneh played for Steve Biko Football Club of the GFA League First Division, the highest level of football in the Gambia. Manneh helped the club finish second in the league in 2009 by scoring 17 goals in 12 matches.[6] Despite successful trials with top clubs in the Gambia, Manneh decided to move to the United States and join the Texas-based academies.[1] In 2012, it was reported that Manneh was on trial with the reigning Major League Soccer champions, the Los Angeles Galaxy but was ultimately not signed to a contract.[7] Manneh had also trained with the Colorado Rapids and clubs in England and Germany.[6] In January 2013, Manneh signed a Generation Adidas contract with Major League Soccer in order to take part in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.[8] A week later, Manneh was selected fourth overall by Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Vancouver made a trade with Toronto FC involving swapping picks and allocation money to get an earlier selection in order to draft Manneh.[6]

Manneh scored two goals for the Whitecaps in a 3–2 preseason victory over the Charleston Battery in the 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup.[9] On 3 March 2013 Manneh made his league debut for the Whitecaps, starting the match and playing 45 minutes of a 1–0 opening-day victory over Toronto FC.[10]

Manneh scored his first professional goal on 27 April 2013, in a 2–2 draw with FC Dallas. After coming on as a 54th-minute substitute, he scored a 72nd-minute goal. Three minutes later, Manneh made a surging run past three defenders down the flank to set up Camilo's equalizer in the 75th minute. Manneh's goal and assist earned him man of the match honours.[11] Manneh scored his first professional, and the Whitecaps' first MLS, hat-trick on 9 October 2013, in a 4–1 win over Seattle Sounders FC. At 18 years and 283 days, Manneh became the youngest player to have scored an MLS hat trick.[12] On the following matchday, Manneh scored a curler from outside the penalty box against the Colorado Rapids.[13]

Following a string of impressive performances in October 2013, it was reported that English Premier League powerhouses Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool were in the hunt to sign the 18-year-old from Vancouver, with the latter apparently linked with a move for the player the previous summer.[14]

In a deal announced 30 March 2017, Manneh was traded to Columbus Crew SC for Tony Tchani. The Whitecaps also received $300,000 in various allocation funds and a conditional first round draft pick.[15]

International career[edit]

Because of Manneh's performances with Steve Biko FC, he was called up for the Gambia's U20 national squad for the 2011 African Youth Championship in Tripoli, Libya in March of that year.[1] Because of political unrest in Libya, the tournament was held in South Africa from 17–2 April May instead.[16] In March 2014, Manneh was one of seven foreign-based players contacted by new Gambia Under-20 coach Tapha Manneh to be part of the squad for 2015 African U-20 Championship qualification, including the match against Liberia on 6 April. However, he was unable to accept the call up because of injury.[17] Manneh has stated he wants to play for the United States after he receives his U.S. citizenship in September 2016. On 16 December 2016, it was announced by new US coach Bruce Arena that Manneh would be called up for the United States camp.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Manneh earned his U.S. citizenship in 2016.[19] While playing for the Canada-based Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Manneh lived in the U.S. exclave of Point Roberts, Washington in order to fulfill his residency requirements for U.S. citizenship.[20]

Manneh is Muslim and has observed the Islamic month of Ramadan to some extent.[21][22]

Career statistics[edit]


As of 23 September 2017
Club Season League League Cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Vancouver Whitecaps FC[23] 2013 MLS 20 6 1 0 21 6
2014 30 4 2 1 32 5
2015 34 7 4 0 1 0 39 7
2016 17 5 4 0 21 5
2017 3 0 0 0 2 1 5 1
Columbus Crew SC[24] 16 4 0 0 16 4
Career total 120 26 11 1 3 1 134 28


  • PDL Southern Conference All-Conference Team: 2012[25]


  1. ^ a b c d Drammeh, Lamin (2 February 2012). "Kekuta Manneh making waves at Texas Rush Club". The Point. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Kennedy, Paul (8 February 2012). "Kekuta Manneh, DA goal machine". Soccer America. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Chia, Albert (3 October 2011). "FC Dallas Academy vs Lonestar SC U18". Texas Fut Gol. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Aztex Take Spotlight At SuperDraft". United Soccer Leagues. 1 February 2013. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Barbaro, Nick (1 June 2012). "Manneh Named PDL Player of the Week". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "Whitecaps FC trade up for No. 4 pick and select Generation adidas striker/winger Manneh". Vancouver Whitecaps FC. 17 January 2013. Retrieved 17 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Eskilson, J.R. (20 June 2012). "Pro Prospects: Cal Men meet Italian pros". Top Drawer Soccer. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Borg, Simon (10 January 2013). "MLS inks two more players to Generation adidas deals". Major League Soccer. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Green, Darcy. "Whitecaps FC defeat Charleston Battery 3–2 in Carolina Challenge Cup opener". Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  10. ^ Beeson, Sandy. "Vancouver Whitecaps FC defeat Toronto FC 1–0 to start 2013 MLS season". Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Retrieved 3 March 2013. 
  11. ^ "Vancouver Whitecaps 2, FC Dallas 2 | MLS Match Recap". Major League Soccer. Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Farhan Devji. "Manneh hat-trick propels Vancouver Whitecaps FC to historic 4–1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC | Vancouver Whitecaps FC". Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  13. ^ "Colorado 3 Vancouver 2: Recap". Major League Soccer. Archived from the original on 27 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  14. ^ Straus, Brian. "EPL powers ‘could swoop’ for Whitecaps’ Kekuta Manneh after historic hat trick". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 23 October 2013. 
  15. ^ "Whitecaps FC acquire Tony Tchani and $300,000 in allocation money from Columbus for Kekuta Manneh". 
  16. ^ "CAF gives youth tourney to SA". 16 March 2010. Retrieved 15 January 2013. 
  17. ^ Ceesay, Alieu. "Gambia: Tapha Manneh Unveiled As New Gambia U-20 Coach". Retrieved 21 April 2014. 
  18. ^ Kekuta Manneh and Pa Modou Kah bring Gambian magic to the Whitecaps – MLS Insider. YouTube. 24 September 2015. 
  19. ^ "Bruce Arena drops hints on U.S. MNT January camp call-ups". 
  20. ^ Weber, Mark (11 March 2015). "Weber: Commuting Kekuta Manneh needs to be more Ferrari, less Ford Fiesta". Calgary Herald. Archived from the original on 12 April 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  21. ^ "Commentary: Motherly love guides Vancouver Whitecaps' Kekuta Manneh far from homeland". MLS. 12 May 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  22. ^ "Rookie Kekuta Manneh nearing the end of month-long fasting period". 4 August 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2014. 
  23. ^ "Whitecaps Profile". Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 
  24. ^ "Crew SC Profile". Columbus Crew SC. Retrieved 31 March 2017. 
  25. ^ "PDL All-Conference Teams Announced". USL Premier Development League. 30 July 2012. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 

External links[edit]