Kwame Awuah, pictured during the MLS combine, made his pro debut for NYCFC Sunday. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)

By Christian Arnold Writer

BRONX, N.Y. – It may have appeared as just a typical substitution late in Sunday’s 3-1 New York City FC victory over Atlanta United, but for Kwame Awuah it was a moment he likely won’t ever forget.

Awuah made his professional debut with NYCFC coming on for Maxi Morález during stoppage time.

The decision by NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira to put Awuah in caught him by surprise.

“At first I was surprised and then I was just like alright,” Awuah said. “I took it as any other game. Just go in, do my job and then come out. Just do what the coach asks me to do to the best of my ability and hopefully things work out in my favor. I was obviously grateful that I was going on and it was a surreal feeling, so I enjoyed it.”

Awuah played four years of NCAA Division I soccer at the University of Connecticut before being drafted 16th overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and was signed Feb. 20. Standout for the Huskies, the Toronto native is a member of the Canadian national team pool.

Awuah has been chomping at the bit since training camp to get playing time.

“I’ve been working hard since preseason,” he said. “Just being a rookie getting any time on the pitch to show the coach what you can do under any circumstance is always a good feeling.”

Awuah’s assignment was simple enough Sunday. The 21-year-old midfielder said Vieira told him to help out defensively and lockdown the midfield.

“Any instructions he tells me I just have to go do it my best,” he said. “I guess I earned his trust kind of and hopefully I can get more minutes just from this. I just take it day by day.”

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at