A native of Ghana, Abu Danladi can't wait to join UCLA's soccer team this fall. He was named the Gatorade national player of the year in soccer after playing the last three years for Dunn High in Los Olivos, Calif.
On Tuesday night, he was in Hollywood as a candidate for Gatorade's male athlete of the year. The award went to basketball standout Karl Towns Jr. from New Jersey, but Danladi took time afterward to tell the story of how he came to America three years ago to play soccer and get an education. He scored 25 goals this past season.
"It's been great," he said. "It was a huge transition for me and was really different. I had people always offering to help me be a better person."
And that's one of the impressive things about Danladi besides his soccer skills: his passion to succeed on and off the field.
"I'm really excited about what's ahead," he said. "I don't know what life has to offer, but I know if I work hard and do good, anything better can happen."