Cate School soccer standout Buba Fofanah has committed to continue his career and education at Portland University.

Buba Fofanah

Buba Fofanah is taking his game to Portland University.

The speedy and powerful striker led Cate to an undefeated regular season and a Tri-Valley League championship this winter. He was named the league’s Offensive MVP and was selected to the All-CIF-Southern Section Division 6 team.

“Portland’s been on him for more than a year, and I think it’s a great fit for him both on and off the field — top notch soccer at a wonderful small school,”  said Cate coach Peter Mack. “Buba thrives on personal connection, and he felt that connection from the start with the Portland coaches and team. He’s going to love that community and they’re going to love him.”

He was loved at Cate. His powerful runs and tremendous shot generated plenty of oohs and ahhs from fans.

“He’s such a sweet, sweet guy,” said Mack. “And in a system like Portland’s, that counterattacks with pace, Buba will wreak havoc on opposing defenses, even at the high level Portland plays.”

Portland plays in the highly competitive West Coast Conference.

“I’m very excited and grateful to be a Pilot,” said Fofanah on Twitter.

Fofanah ran on the Cate track team as a junior and won the 100- and 200-meter titles at the Santa Barbara County Championships.

“Buba is going to be a great addition to our greater university community as he is a very grateful, humble, and hard-working student-athlete,” said Portland coach Nick Carlin-Voigt. “Buba is a special person who can light up a room with his smile and personality. In the classroom, Buba understands the opportunity at hand to continue to grow and develop scholastically here on the Bluff.”

Fofanah arrived at Cate from Kenema, Sierra Leone. He follows former Cate stars Josh Yaro and Ema Boateng into Division 1 soccer. Both are now professional players.

Boateng, who played collegiately at UCSB, plays in Major League Soccer with DC United after four seasons with the L.A. Galaxy. Yaro played his college soccer at Georgetown and is currently a member of San Antonio FC of the United Soccer League’s Championship Division.

“We’ve had several Cate players go on to professional soccer careers, and it won’t surprise me to see the same for Buba,” said Mack. “He’s truly driven to excel and he has the physical attributes to play at the next level.

“I could go on and on about Buba. I’ve loved watching him grow into the man and player he now is. It’s been a real privilege.”

Carlin-Voigt is excited to see Fofanah in a Portland jersey.

“We think his best is ahead, and once he adapts to our daily competitive environment he will improve tactically and technically,” said the coach.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.