Gale Agbossoumonde is wanting to win trophies, lots of them, and believes the young, exciting talent he is joining at the Colorado Rapids will help him achieve that ambition.
That is some statement, considering where the Togo-born defender is coming from. The 22-year-old will arrive in Denver on Saturday, two days after the Rapids acquired him from Toronto FC, in a deal which involved three clubs and took Marvin Chávez to Sunday’s opponents, Chivas USA.
“When I heard about the move, I was really, really excited,” he told me. “Colorado has lots of good, young players, but not only that, they are also experienced.”
Agbossoumonde was packing up his worldly goods when we spoke, with the help of his girlfriend, preparing for a new adventure, in a new state, with a new club, but he will have some familiar faces around him.
“I lived with and played alongside Chris Klute for three years, when we were at the U17 camp in Bradenton, Florida,” he added. “And I’m used to playing with Dillon Powers, as we were teammates with the youth national team, and went to the U20 World Cup together.”
The Rapids’ new name arrived in MLS via a weighted lottery at the end of 2012, joining Toronto FC. He had spent time at Miami FC (now re-named Fort Lauderdale Strikers), and overseas in Sweden, Germany and Portugal, before a brief spell at Carolina Railhawks.
“I’m big, tall and athletic,” he said, when asked of his qualities. “I’m good on the ball, like to carry it out of the back and start the offense. And, being tall, I’m good in the air.”
Agbossoumonde moved with his family from the West African country of Togo to Syracuse in New York at the age of eight. The USA is very much part of who he is, but when pushed to conjure up his most memorable moment in soccer, the answer was swift and delivered with enormous pride.
“It was November 17, 2010, my 19th birthday, and I’d been called into the senior national side for a game in South Africa. I managed to play for the last 10 minutes, and we won the game 1-0 … and afterwards got to meet Nelson Mandela. It’s a day I’ll never forget.”
For a young man, Agbossoumonde has already gained a great deal of experience. His MLS debut came on April 6, 2013, when with Toronto FC, in a 2-2 tie at home to FC Dallas. In all, he would feature 13 times for the Canadian side, 12 of which were in the starting 11. He failed to manage any minutes this season, and had to settle for time on the subs’ bench, but is relishing this new opportunity at a club which had been monitoring him for some time.
“That is so important for me,” he began. “For a club to be eyeing me, and have so much belief in my abilities. It makes you want to play for a club like that. And I speak with Chris and Dillon. They talk about Pablo Mastroeni being a coach who you really want to play for.
“I am really, really excited about joining Colorado. I can’t wait to get started, and to be a part of the club. There’s lots of young talent, so many possibilities and I will give 100%. Like any player, I want to win trophies, and with Colorado I think that will happen.”