Roy Boateng (center) with Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett and head coach Chris Armas (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

CHICAGO — Life could not have worked out better for Roy Boateng.

Boateng graduated from UC Davis two weeks ago, which was a perfect set-up for him.

On Friday, he was selected by the Red Bulls as the 16th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft.

The Red Bulls traded $100,000 in General Allocation Money for FC Cincinnati’s No. 16 and 25 (first pick in the second round) to get the opportunity to choose the UC Davis defender.

“It was putting myself in the right position to play professional soccer and it all worked out,” he said at McCormick Place Friday afternoon.

Boateng graduated with a degree in managerial economics. He can put that off for a while.

Of course, the center back position won’t be handed to Boateng because the Red Bulls already have a pair of standouts manning that position in MLS defender of the year Aaron Long and Tim Parker. Long is in U.S. national team camp in Chula Vista, Calif. and Parker was in camp and earned his first two caps last year.

So, there’s plenty of quality there.

“I think I’m going bring a lot of enthusiasm, positivity and hard work,” he said. “It’s a club that works hard. They just roll their sleeves up and they grind. I am excited to be a part of it.”

When asked to describe himself, Boateng replied, “I am very passionate, and I like to be very enthusiastic with my play. I like to complement when someone does a good job. as a defender. I love it when people work hard and i bring that to the table. I think that energy feeds off and lifts other teammates up.”

The 6-2, 195-lb. center back met with Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas during the MLS combine in Orlando, Fla. last week. So, Boatend had an inkling he could be drafted by New York.

“He was very nice,” he said. “We talked and we shared some ideas and he seemed to be really interested in me. So yeah, I had some idea.”

That became a reality Friday at a packed house Friday afternoon. Boateng said he thought it was a compliment that the Red Bulls moved up in the draft to take him.

“Yes, very much,” he said, “and I am very excited to return that and give my all to the club.”

Boateng, a four-year letterman at Davis, started 81 of the 84 possible matches for the Aggies in four seasons. The Rohnert Park, Calif., native was named a two-time All-Far West Region selection by United Soccer Coaches and the reigning two-time Big West Defensive Player of the Year, was the highest ranked Big West player among the top 100 upperclassmen in the nation at No. 53 in 2018.

Boateng was born in Ghana and emigrated to the U.S. with his parents when he was eight.