EMMANUEL KYEI

Emmanuel Kyei

Maybe the most telling indication of Emmanuel Kyei’s talent is something an opposing coach said about him.

After Moscow High toppled the Lewiston boys’ soccer team Thursday, Bears boss Pedram Rezamand admitted that his team had to key in on Kyei and his active feet in the second half, or else “he would’ve killed us.”

Lakeland of Rathdrum knew that feeling. The week before, the Hawks failed to contain the Bengals’ senior striker, who poured in three goals en route to a 6-1 win and his place as the Tribune’s reigning Prep Athlete of the Week.

To Kyei, a four-year varsity player, it’s all about a deadly combination of speed, strength and grace, the latter trait leading to ball control uncommon in the Idaho high school ranks.

“Now, I can just keep it close, freeze defenders,” Kyei said. “I like to flick the ball up with the back of my heel. It usually goes over defenders’ heads. It’s effective.”

Kyei’s coach, Jace Kessler, praised his captain’s mix of work ethic and natural skill. Much of that comes from Kyei’s summer spent with the Eastern Washington Surf Soccer Club, a Palouse-based team.

“(Surf) showed me how to keep the ball well, and use my strength and speed together,” Kyei said. “I’ve gained a lot of experience there. When that’s not going, I keep myself fit at home, doing workouts with and without a ball.”

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