Three Things Kekuta Manneh Brings to FC Cincinnati

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Age: 24
Position: Left Winger
From: Madiba Kunda, Gambia (U.S. citizen)
Former team: FC St. Gallen (SUI)
Value: $900K
Deal: Free transfer from St. Gallen and a trade with Columbus Crew for his MLS rights, including $250K in TAM and $50K in GAM. FCC could pay an additional $100K in allocation money based on Manneh’s performance.
Transfermarkt Profile

FC Cincinnati signed left winger Kekuta Manneh on a free transfer from Swiss Super League outfit FC St. Gallen 1869. The Gambian is 24 years old but comes with a wealth of first division experience, including 124 MLS appearances (74 starts) for the Vancouver Whitecaps and Columbus Crew. He scored 26 goals and delivered 14 assists between 2013 and 2017 while in the American first division. His standout MLS season came in 2015 when he made 32 appearances for the Whitecaps, scoring 7 goals and creating 5 assists. He also can boast eight MLS Cup playoff appearances, mostly as a substitute during his time with the Crew.

Manneh left MLS in 2017 after a season with the Crew and hasn’t found a great deal of playing time since his departure. He landed at powerhouse Pachuca of Liga MX during the 2018 Clausura, but only featured in 1 league match and 5 cup games. In the fall of last year he moved to Switzerland, but only featured in six of 20 Super League matches for FC St. Gallen 1869 during the 18/19 season. Kekuta Manneh arrives in Cincinnati looking to reignite his career in MLS where he has found success in seasons past.

Three Things Kekuta Manneh Brings to FC Cincinnati

FCC Connections

As a former Whitecap, Manneh has established connections with Alan Koch, Kendall Waston, Darren Mattocks, and especially FCC assistant coach and fellow Gambian Pa-Modou Kah. Manneh and Kah played together in Vancouver during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. The video below kicks-off with a goal created by both players and highlights their relationship. It also features cameos by Kendall Waston and Darren Mattocks.

“Scooter” Has Pace and Finishing Ability

Former Whitecap teammate Darren Mattocks gave him the nickname “Scooter” in Vancouver because “he’s always buzzing around the pitch.” Apparently, Manneh wasn’t a fan of the nickname at first but has embraced it since. The moniker will likely be reinstated now that he’s joined the Orange & Blue.

Kakuta Manneh is a burner. He has pace. He can beat opposition players on the dribble, and can finish what he started. In the video above, Pa-Modou Kah comments. “He’s faster with the ball than without the ball . . . He’ll be one of the best Gambian players to have played this game.”

FC Cincinnati is not currently well-stocked with pacey players. Manneh certainly checks that box. He’s also a welcome addition to bolster FC Cincinnati’s attack. With Lamah and now Manneh on the left, that side of the Orange & Blue’s offense looks a lot more potent.

American Ambitions

Although Manneh is Gambian, and lived there until the age of 16, he is also a product of the American soccer development system. He moved to Texas upon his arrival in 2010 and played with U.S. Development Academy clubs as well as the famous PDL side Austin Aztecs. Manneh has aspirations to play for the USMNT and established residence in Washington during his time in Vancouver to pursue citizenship.

Kakuta Manneh realized his goal and became an American in the fall of 2016. Shortly thereafter, he was called up to the USMNT January camp under Bruce Arena. He hasn’t been capped yet but he’s another player on Alan Koch’s roster that could be in the mix for a national team call-up if he performs well for FC Cincinnati.

Stay tuned to Orange & Blue Press for more coverage of FC Cincinnati’s preseason.

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