Jan. 31, 2009
By Matt Gaschk
Sounders FC Insider
SEATTLE - Though his British accent slips away a bit in his frequent meetings with the University of Washington basketball media, Matthew Bryan-Amaning fell right back into it when I brought up Arsenal's win over Hull City last month.
The sophomore forward and London native provides a regular spark on the UW front line when he comes off the bench and is fifth on the team in scoring at 8.6 points per game and third in rebounding at 5.5 boards per game.
He played soccer and basketball growing up in London with the Gunners gracing the walls of his bedroom alongside the NBA greats. And, like several overseas hoopsters before him, developed several basketball skills on the soccer field.
"I played a lot of soccer in school. It helped my footwork and balance," Bryan-Amaning said. "Footwork is everything in soccer - playing basketball, that helps a lot and you are able to move and coordinate your body a lot better."
He moved state-side as a high school sophomore, attending South Kent School in Connecticut, but has kept up with his hometown Arsenal over the years through frequent text-messages from his brother back in London.
In the coming weeks, though, his family may be contacting him about former Gunner Freddie Ljungberg's play with the Seattle Sounders FC. When he can find time in a busy basketball schedule with a Huskies team that is tied for first in Pac-10 play at 7-2 (16-5 overall), Bryan-Amaning plans to follow the Sounders FC in their inaugural season.
"Obviously basketball is a big obligation, but being able to keep up with soccer talking to people back home about how soccer is over here is fun," he said.
MBA and the Huskies take on USC on Thursday and UCLA on Saturday at Bank of America Arena. The Sounders FC begin training on Wednesday and open the season March 19 against the New York Red Bulls at Qwest Field.