Crew SC's newest signing, Ghanaian international Harrison Afful, sat down with ColumbusCrewSC.com to talk about his decision to join the Black & Gold, his strengths as a rightback and more. Read the entire interview below.
Q: Harrison, welcome to Columbus. Have you had a chance to explore the city already?
A: First, I have to give thanks to God Almighty for bringing me here safely. So far, it’s been great. It’s been good. I just got in the city yesterday [Tuesday] night and I think everything has been nice. I’ve seen a couple people; they are nice people, I must say.
What was your first impression of Columbus?
What I heard was they love football. For me, I want to enjoy the place I’m here and then hope for the best, because it’s not easy to get such an opportunity. I just love the place and everybody has been nice to me since I’ve been here.
What are you looking forward to most about playing for Crew SC?
I just hope I’ll be able to adapt to the system of the team and then make sure I will do my best for the club, even though it’s a short time. But for me, I believe in myself and I know I can do it. Even though it’s a big challenge for me, I believe I can do well for the club.
What do you think is your biggest strength as a soccer player?
My biggest strength is to attack. That is what the coach told me about his system. The first time, when he spoke to me on the phone, [he said] that is what he used to play. This system is what he used to play and I said, ‘Oh that is my style.’ So I think I will be very happy here and I will be able to adapt.
What inspired you to come to Columbus?
What inspired me, I think I have to give all the credit to Joe Addo, former Black Stars defender. He was the one who made the move. I learned he played with the coach [Berhalter] before, and they talked about me, and then he showed coach some clips and he was also interested. For me, I’m just happy to be here, and I want to enjoy the play time here.
What are your thoughts on playing for Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter?
I don’t know him in person, but when I just met him today, I must confess he’s a good guy. I even told Joe Addo that he’s a great guy, he’s a nice person. For me, in football, you just have to have that coach-and-player relationship to be happy and then you deliver on the field of play. And you, as a player, you need to listen to what the coach wants you to do on and off the pitch. So, I’m that type of player who will listen to advice a lot, and I’m ready to deliver for the club.
How much do you know about Major League Soccer?
I don’t really know a lot about MLS, the League, but what I know is, a lot of names are coming in here. I know they are improving the game, so I think in the future, it will be great.
You have a lot of experience both on the club and international level. How do you think your experience will help you adjust to MLS?
I always say one thing to myself. I already have the talent, so if you have the talent, you need to work. You need to work more. This is a great challenge I have taken in. I need to work a lot to get to my standard. And there is a saying: to be at the top is easy, but to maintain it is very difficult. So, I’m just hoping I’ll maintain my performance.
You have won multiple championships on the club level. How do you think this will translate into playing for Crew SC?
It’s a great challenge I have taken in, and I am ready to deliver for the club. It’s a short time being here, but I believe in God and I believe in myself because I’m always a winner. I always want to win and I always want to fight. I like challenges because when you challenge with somebody, it makes you grow on a higher level for you to be at the top. I’m very happy to be here and I hope I will do well.
What is your nickname?
I have a lot of nicknames, but I have chosen one at the moment, which I am using on my social account, which is ‘The King Harrison.’
Do you think your new teammate will call you "The King?"
Why not? A king is always a winner. He’s always at the top. I’m not saying this to boost or something, but I’m the kind of person who always wants to be at the top, so that is why I chose the name ‘King.’
What do you like to do outside of soccer?
For me, I just want to help the needy. When God blessed me with something, I always want to give it out to the needy. I want to be an advisor, to advise people when they are going on the wrong path. Because I’m the kind of a person who will listen to advice, or if I listen to advice and take it, I have to share it with my friends, and my loved ones.
What player did you emulate growing up?
I would say Philipp Lahm. I really looked up to him because I met him in the World Cup. I was watching him on TV before I even met him in the World Cup. I was very happy to meet such a player because I always said to myself, ‘he’s my role model. I’ve got his style he’s playing.’ He can play on the right back or the left back or the midfield, and he’s talented, even though he’s not that big. But he has the God-gifted talent. I also think I’m blessed with that and I really looked up to him.
Are you looking forward to meeting Crew SC supporters for the first time?
I love to play when the supporters are around ... Sometimes it’s very difficult for a supporter to even get money to buy a ticket to come and cheer you on. So, for me, when I see a supporter dying for the club, I also want to give it back to him or her.