Nimo's long journey leads him to Utah
Midfielder 's family escaped war-torn Liberia
BALTIMORE -- Of all the players selected in the MLS SuperDraft on
Friday, perhaps no one had a longer journey to Baltimore than Alex
Nimo, Real Salt Lake's third pick of the draft.
He and his family led war-torn Liberia when he was a baby to live in a
refugee camp in Ghana. It was there that he started to play soccer.
"That was like my life," said Nimo, a Generation adidas selection from
the United States under-17 residency program. "I used to play with
friends just to have fun as a kid. When I came here I met Clive
Charles and he saw I had potential and saw that I could become a pro
Nimo and his family were granted political asylum and moved to
Portland, Ore., where he first met Charles, playing in the FC Portland
youth program. Charles, the former Portland men and women's coach and
U.S. under-23 national team coach, was a big reason why Nimo realized
And while Charles, who died of prostate cancer in 2003, wasn't there
in person, Nimo said he was there in spirit.
"He's not ever going to leave my heart because he's the person who
really pulled me up in the U.S.," Nimo said. "He was like a father, a
brother, a counselor. I'm not going to forget him."
With a large family, Nimo said he wasn't sure who called him first
after he was picked.
"I got my phone on vibrate and like every five minutes it vibrates and
I'm not trying to answer it," he said. "I don't know yet, probably
everybody and their father calls, leaving a message."
Weight: 142 lbs.
Date of Birth: March 21, 1990 (17)
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Last Club: U.S. Under-17 MNT/Residency Program
Acquired: Selected by Real Salt Lake in the second round (17th
overall) of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft.
Despite being the second youngest player eligible in this year's
draft, the 17-year-old Nimo brings international experience to RSL
thanks to his time with the U.S. U-17 National Team. The Liberian-born
Nimo played an integral part in helping the "Stars-and-Stripes" reach
the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, first scoring three goals and two
assists in five CONCACAF region qualifying contests before notching
two helpers as a starter in all four of the U.S.'s games at the
tournament's finals in Korea. A member of the U.S. Soccer Residency
Program in Bradenton, Fla. since last January, the young Nimo was
initially discovered and developed by legendary coach Clive Charles
after his family moved to Portland, Ore.