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Interview #19- Quincy Amarikwa
Quincy Amarikwa is a professional soccer player for D.C. United of Major League Soccer. Quincy, a forward, grew up in California and attended UC Davis. Drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes in 2009, Quincy has since played for San Jose, Colorado Rapids, Toronto FC, Chicago Fire, Montreal Impact, and now D.C. United. A league veteran, Amarikwa was nominated for MLS Comeback Player of the Year. Amarikwa owns his own company, Perfect Soccer, where him and his staff teach players about the beautiful game on many different social media platforms, such as Instagram and YouTube.
The Quincy Amarikwa Interview
Quincy Amarikwa. You may know the name through his flashy goals, or his insane mental strength, you may even know the name because of the company he started, Perfect Soccer.
Quincy is an MLS veteran. He’s played on teams all around the league such as the San Jose Earthquakes, Colorado Rapids, Toronto FC, Chicago Fire Montreal Impact, and now he’s on D.C. United. The 31-year-old has played with many different faces and has proven himself to many clubs. One thing that Quincy has that most others don’t is mental strength. When he knows what he wants, he goes out and gets what he wants. That’s the Quincy Amarikwa way.
“Once you get to the pro level, you have to assert your dominance. There are no excuses. That’s what it is.” Quincy told me in an exclusive interview I had with the forward.
Quincy played soccer as a kid and got recruited on the last day of a tournament he had with his club team. That game led him to being recruited by UC Davis, where he had a stellar career and his superb play attributed to him being drafted by the San Jose Earthquakes in the third round of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. He was still in school when drafted by San Jose, but that didn’t stop him from training with the team, “I’d drive to San Jose, train, and then drive back to Davis and do my classes in the evening. I did that for the year, and the next year.” Quincy told me when asked about what his schooling was like after being drafted.
Despite the rigorous two hour commute, Quincy managed to play professional soccer and finish college at the same time. While doing this, Amarikwa learned many things, such as the huge difference between college and professional soccer. “That’s the year I learned the difference between college and pro, and when money is involved,” Amarikwa stated.
After finishing his rookie campaign with San Jose, he was traded to the Colorado Rapids, a team that holds very dear in Quincy’s heart. “From young to old, the team was a group of guys who hung out all the time. We all stayed at the training facility playing soccer tennis and having a good time, it was a brotherhood.” That was the team that saw Quincy lift the highest prize in all of MLS, the MLS Cup.
“People didn’t want us to win, it didn’t look how they all wanted it to look, but we didn’t care because we all enjoyed each other's company and wanted to see us be successful,” Amarikwa said as he was reflecting on his MLS Cup win with the Rapids in 2010. The Rapids defeated FC Dallas 2-1 in Toronto in the MLS Cup final. 7 of the Rapid’s players were groomsmen at Amarikwa’s wedding, showing just how close-knit that Colorado team was. One of his teammates was Ross LaBauex, a co-worker of his at Perfect Soccer.
After two successful years in Colorado, Amarikwa was waived. “I knew the waive was coming because how contracts were at the time. What you have to learn is that people are going to do what is in their best interest at the professional level. If you’re not aware of that, that may be your final opportunity and you will no longer be able to play at this level,” the forward said as he talked about being waived by the Rapids.
However, Quincy was ready for what the next step was. He had heard he’d been getting calls and teams were ready to trade for him, and now that he was a free agent he became available to all of those teams.
While under free agency, the Red Bull’s gave Amarikwa a contract until Toronoto came in with a trade deal a day later. Quincy decided to leave the Red Bull’s and go to Toronto to play under Paul Mariner, Quincy’s favorite coach of all time, “I have nothing but good words to say about Mariner, he’s the only coach that really truly believed in me, and I appreciate that to this day. Nothing bad to say about that man.” Amarikwa told me.
Amarikwa played one season at Toronto until being traded to Chicago. Moving teams again, Quincy stayed mentally ready. He knew he could play at that level, and he also knew not many were as mentally prepared as him.
“Maybe where you are right now isn’t where you want to be, or where you believe you should be. Use that as a learning experience to grow and understand what you need to do on your next opportunity.” Amarikwa said as he talked about his move to Chicago, after coming off of a rough season in Toronto.
Amarikwa had a very successful tenure with the Fire. While in Chicago he was being coached under his former coach, Frank Yallop, who was his coach back when Amarikwa was a rookie in San Jose. In Chicago, under Yallop and the Fire’s management team, Quincy became a star. “I started my YouTube show, Quincy Time. That became my breakout year, where I was able to show people that I can be a valuable asset on and off the field,” Quincy told me as he was talking about his first season in Chicago.
This was the time when Quincy became a name many people started to know. Quincy Time became a hit on YouTube, and his online presence grew instantly. The forward also started his own business, Perfect Soccer, where he and other pros and ex-pros such as Mark Pelosi, Ryan Mash, and previously mentioned, Ross Labauex.
“I always wanted to start a business. As a kid I would sell candy bars, sell clothes, fix xboxes and more. I never really wanted to start a soccer business… but with soccer I didn’t need to convince anybody that I knew what I was talking about. I was a professional, I did it for a living.” Quincy said as he talked about the upbringings of Perfect Soccer. The first thing he did with Perfect Soccer was write a book about how to get recruited to play college soccer. He did this with his best friend, Ross Labauex, who he explained had a much different route to college soccer than him (Quincy). Unlike Quincy, Ross was sending out letters and giving college coaches his schedule from the time he was in eighth grade.
The next step in Quncy’s playing career was going back to the Earthquakes, where Quincy yet again made a huge impact. However, one moment made his stint take a turn for the worse, at least many thought it did. Quincy was going in for a cross and when he planted his foot he tore his ACL, LCL, IT Band, and popped his Achilles tendon. Doctors told him he would be out for 12-18 months and may never play again. This was deja vu for Amarikwa, when he was twelve, he broke his femur, where doctors said the same thing, it also made one leg shorter than the other.
“Character is who you are when things aren’t going your way. It’s easy to be positive when things are going your way, it’s hard when things are bad. But it’s necessary to have a strong mindset when things are bad,” Amarikwa said, “They can all look at me and see that things aren’t going great for me, but they still can see my mindset, my attitude, and my approach.”
Quincy’s strong frame of mind helped him make a quicker recovery than expected. Also helping him get nominated for the MLS Comeback Player of the Year a season after the at once ‘career ending’ injury.
Amarikwa has since played for the Montreal Impact in the 2018-2019 season, and now currently plays for D.C. United alongside Wayne Rooney, a Manchester United legend. Quincy said he’s had a great connection with Wayne, saying Wayne always sticks up for his teammates, something Quiny does as well.
Amarikwa also has made a lot of headlines for his game against the LA Galaxy where he mentally fought Zlatan, as Quincy describes “I got some free real estate in Zlatan’s head.”
“When I come on the field, I need to do everything to put my teammates in the best position on the field. If that means I need to mentally dominate Zlatan and put him in my back pocket, that’s what I am going to do,” Quincy stated. He has a reason, if he gets other players focused on him, it creates more opportunities for his team to get open as defenders turn their focus to Quincy.
Quincy is currently helping D.C. United maintain their home field advantage spot for the MLS Cup Playoffs. Amarikwa is a lethal player, quick on the attack, and stronger than anyone else in the game mentally. A force to be reckoned with.
Interview by Chris Dailey
Huge thanks to Quincy for a great interview! It was truly a pleasure to work with him and the crew at Perfect Soccer on developing The Sports Court's biggest piece to date! Hours upon hours of hard work have paid off! Thanks again Quincy and his crew at Perfect Soccer, all top class people and players!
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