The German Stalwart
Prince Boateng is a name that has risen to fame in the last two years. Just over a month ago he made his debut for the national Germany team against Israel and now has 2 caps to his name at 19 years of age. He is a commanding centre back who can also play as a defensive midfielder or central midfielder and has so far made 56 appearances for Olympique Lyonnais.
Prince was born in Königsbrunn, Germany in January 1996 to Ghanaian parents. Königsbrunn is a municipality and the largest town in the district of Augsburg, in Bavaria, Germany, about an hour away from Munich. Football in Königsbrunn is not as popluar as one might think, with American Football leading the way. There is an American Football team in the city and has a stadium with 5,000 capacity. This is what Prince’s parents were in to and the house was covered in American Football memorabilia from the States and Prince took a shine to it as a young boy, playing as a tight end for Königsbrunn Ants youth team. However at school he would play football (soccer) and went through an epic growth spurt. He was towering over his classmates and the football coach decided to try him at centre back to see how he would cope with balls in the air. It was safe to say he was unbelievably comfortable in that role and even showed some skill with the ball at his feet, showing off some flair.
The more games he played for his school team, the less involved with American Football he became and slowly his parents decided to try and find a local football club to join but they weren’t statisfied with the set ups anywhere. It was lucky though at the same time Prince’s dad was offered a job in Munich and so they made a decision, packed up the home and moved. What better place could they be at?
Prince’s parents picked out a school famed for its football coaches and the links the school had with Bayern Munich. He joined and automatically won the starting CB spot and before the 1st game of the season his coaches had already had words with Bayern Munich’s scouting department. 1st game of the season came along and there were 2 scouts on the touchline, following his every move and watching with anticipation. Prince knew they were there and it got to him, he was nervous. A long ball sent up by the keeper and he hesitated instead of meeting it full on. It bounced as he stepped forward and went over his head. The striker was in and in a flash Prince’s team was losing. He knew he had to step it up and get the scouts out of his head and he did just that. For the rest of the game he was unbeatable at the back and every time he had the ball at his feet he was looking to play forward. Just before the half time whistle, Prince’s team had a corner. He was always there in the box attacking corners and he nodded home the equaliser. A great recovery and the 2nd half was left to play. Half way in to the 2nd half Prince got the ball from his keeper and had 20 yards free in front of him. His teammates were all marked so he ran forward and a striker came to meet him. One stepover, the second and Prince was past him in a flash! He glided his way past two midfielders and was in a crossing position on the right of the pitch and my word did he cross it. It had whip, fizz and bend and landed right on his striker’s head and nestled in the bottom corner. The game finished 2-1 and the scouts were massively impressed. They waited around and called him over to talk. He was in awe but knew why. They spent just under an hour explaining what they wanted and the benefits from joining a club like Bayern but he was sold on the idea within the first two minutes.
Prince joined the academy in 2012 and played twice for the Bayern first team in 2 years before Olympique Lyonnais in the 2013 season for a small €1.4 million fee. He made his debut in the first team for Lyon that year and went on to play 8 games in the league. The following season he played 45 games across all competitions for the club and scored 3 goals and in the current season he has played 26 games and is a key utility player for boss Remi Garde. It seems things will only get better for this young 19 year old and his future is outrageously bright. There is no doubt he will become a Lyon legend for as long as they can hold on to him.