Go behind the scenes with Utica City FC as a part of our Summer With The City Interview series! 

This article covers Mohamed Ndiaye, recently-acquired forward from the Empire Strykers. Ndiaye was a point-per-game player during the 2022-23 season in the Western Conference, recording 8G and 14A through 21GP.

What was your initial reaction to the trade? 

It was kind of a shock that it actually happened because it took a little bit of time. There were talks with a couple of different teams. I think the Utica trade should have happened a couple of years ago, but unfortunately it didn't. I thank God that it happened now. It's just all God's timing. 

How do you think your West African roots have influenced your playing style? 

Oh, it did a lot. It's not usual to see somebody 6'4" with what people call "crazy feet" playing five-a-side soccer. I've been playing five-a-side side soccer since I was a child. We play on concrete with jelly shoes. So you had to get your way around, you know, you had to play. That's where the technicality comes in. 

This will be your fifth season in the league— how excited are you to call the Adirondack Bank Center home? 

I will wake up from a dream soon. I've always talked about a Utica place as a very special place. I remember my first season going to play in playoffs in the first season in Utica. I always tell my friends that it was the first time in 20 plus years where I actually stood in front of a crowd and I started shaking. You could feel the ground shaking and I had nerves going all through me. It's unbelievable, there's not an atmosphere like it in the league.

Tommy Tanner gave you high praise in the press release of your trade, calling you “one of the most talented players in the league.” What do you believe you bring to the team that will make a difference on the pitch?

I have a lot of heart. I've coached all throughout America and you can't teach heart. You can't teach dedication. You can teach somebody how to pass a ball, you can teach them how to play, but not how to have heart. So, I think I try to bring a lot of heart to the team and a lot of passion to the game and try to make my team win, wherever I am. 

What are your goals for this season with Utica City FC as a team? 

I want to win the whole thing. I think it's very possible with the team that Utica already had last year and the team that we have this year.

What message do you have for the fans as you embark on this journey together?  

I'm just so excited to get in front of them. To the fans: adopt me as a child. You know, I was on the other side. I was getting booed and yelled at because I'm very passionate and I get into it. When I have a crest on my chest, I play to the fullest and I go very hard about it. Now, I have a blue crest— I'm expecting all the fans to be behind me.