Pittsburgh Riverhounds forward Albert Dikwa doesn’t want the USL Golden Boot to be seen as a solo award as he and the team get set to begin the playoffs this weekend.
If you were to look up the meaning of ‘breakout season’ in the dictionary, there’s a very good chance that the first example you’ll see is the 2023 season that Pittsburgh Riverhounds forward Albert Dikwa has just had. Having played his whole professional career in the United States, the Cameroonian certainly took a while to get going in the soccer world, with 2022 being the first year that he managed to break the double-digit marker with 11.
This season though has seen his prowess in front of goal explode and the Hounds are certainly reaping the benefits, as his 20 goals in the USL Championship, finishing just one ahead of the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Cal Jennings, helped earn him the Golden Boot whilst the team earned the #1 seed for the duration of the playoffs.
But rather than let the accolades go to his head, Dikwa was insistent that he shouldn’t take all the credit for his accomplishments this season. Speaking exclusively to Pittsburgh Soccer Now, the 25-year-old cut a rather humble figure as he praised head coach Bob Lilley for the work regiment that he went through earlier in the season:
“I’ve got to give him all the credit because he’s the one who made me the top striker in this league. I remember four years ago, I wasn’t the same player that I am right now, I think it’s all because of him. Every day after training, we might stay for two hours after everyone has left, I’m just here on the field with Bob and he’s showing me how to make the movement inside the box, how to hold up the play. It wasn’t easy to just do two hours with him but it’s worth it. I am the Golden Boot winner today because of him and I gave him all the credit for that.”
The praise didn’t stop there though, because whilst the head coach can pass on all the pointers he wants, if nobody is there to give him the ball, then it’s all for nothing, which is why Dikwa also wanted to ensure that his teammates got the praise that they deserved too, with some even getting a special mention for how they have managed to build a connection together.
“I’ve going to say all my teammates to be honest because I know there are guys that I’m always close to and on the same page with like Robbie [Mertz] and Kenny [Kenardo Forbes], so they are the ones that know where I’m going, where to put the ball and what kind of movement I like to do. I think maybe those are the two guys that I feel more connected to but obviously you can say that about all the guys, Dani Rovira gave me some assists, Danny Griffin, Langston Blackstock, Luke Biasi, Mark Ybarra, we are in the same page, that’s why we are we are the first in the league right now.”