HAMILTON — Kwame Awuah doesn’t like to attach words to the kind of player he is.
The farthest he’ll go is say he’s “confident” on the pitch.
“Almost to the point of being cocky,” Awuah clarified.
Why wouldn’t he be confident at this point in his young career? The 23-year-old signed with Forge FC on Monday after a two-year spell with MLS’ New York City FC, learning from the likes of Andrea Pirlo, David Villa and head coach Patrick Vieira.
“A lot of good players have that confident, competitive edge nowadays. That’s the attitude I want to have.”
The North York native is a former member of Forge head coach Bobby Smyrniotis’ Sigma FC, joining the likes of Chris Nanco, Marcel Zajac and others who have followed the coach to his pro project.
“Instinct, chemistry, family. You know you can adapt quickly to the new coach and everything. I’ve known Bobby since I was a teenager,” Awuah told CanPL.ca.
Awuah represented Canada at the youth and senior international level, having most recently served on the provisional squad for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup in the United States.
Capable of playing left fullback or winger, Awuah was largely deployed at central midfield during his time under head coach Vieira, earning 10 appearances and one start in the two years after being drafted by Vieira and co. 16th overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft.
Awuah credits the Arsenal legend for teaching him how to channel that confident nature into a solid team performance.
“He pushed to play to the best of your personal abilities within the team system — and his system was unbelievable,” Awuah said.
“Just look at his career. He was dominant, athletic, scored goals from midfield, but he was never the star player. But he stood out within the system — he did what he was good at within the system.
“Before joining NYCFC, I tried to do a lot of things myself, but I wasn’t able to achieve as much as I wanted.”
Awuah said Vieira and him had a father-son relationship, complete with some good-natured teasing.
“If I was doing a move to beat a guy, he would look at me and say, ‘What are you doing, that’s not you’ because he could see I was trying to prove to him what I could do.”
With Awuah’s versatility in mind, Smyrniotis’ midfield options are already taking shape, with the former University of Connecticut standout joining fellow Sigma grads Kyle Bekker and Tristan Borges in the middle of the park.
“I like to play in possession and attacking systems, so this is great for me,” he explained.
“You know the players play the same way you do, the same style. You’re going to have the best opportunity to express yourself.”