There is never much warning about Kekuta Manneh. Even among things that arrive with jarring suddenness, like fevers and flat tires, Manneh’s game is an abrupt soliloquy. There is rolling darkness and suddenly light, and Manneh is flying by and gone before both feet plant.
It is fortuitous, then, that Manneh found himself in Vancouver at the proscribed time. That is, under speed demon Carl Robinson, with a rumbling hot rod engine under the hood and a willingness to push tempo behind him along the flanks. It has not always worked. Vancouver of 2016 was by and large a faltering serious of foundation cracks, and Manneh missed the entire back half of it with a foot injury. If it was not a lost season for Manneh personally, then it certainly was for the organization.
And yet Manneh is waking up to an entirely new reality in 2017. His foot healing, Manneh was a surprise addition to Bruce Arena’s first January camp. On Wednesday, as camp rolled to its start, U.S. Soccer announced even bigger news. Manneh, supposedly, has U.S. citizenship. He’s USMNT eligible, provided FIFA gives the final stamp of approval. Which it almost certainly will.
If this does not seem like big news, it will soon enough.