Darlington Nagbe would probably have been a victim of the first Liberian civil war, which cost about 250,000 people their lives if his mother Somah had not made the courageous decision to flee the country when he was only 5 months old. She found temporary refuge in the West African neighboring country, Sierra Leone.
Somah finally found a way out of Sierra Leone with her two small children and joined her husband Joe Nagbe, who was a professional football player in the French league at the time.
Darlington Nagbe’s Bio
The Nagbe family settled in Cleveland in 2001 towards the end of Joe Nagbe’s career when Darlington was about 11 years old. He was enrolled at Lakewood High School and later at St. Edward High School. During high school, it was obvious that young Nagbe was destined for a career in football just like his father.
On the St. Edward High School football team, Darlington scored 18 goals and 10 assists. He was also part of the Region II ODP team and an integral part of the Ohio North ODP team that won four Ohio North State club titles with the Cleveland Internationals. While honing his skills with these more or fewer amateur cadres, Darlington was discovered at the age of 15 by Caleb Porter, who was the head coach at the University of Akron at the time.
On Porter’s recommendation, Darlington was offered a scholarship to the University of Akron. He won the 2008 All-MAC Newcomer of the Year award. In his second year, he was named to the second team of the NSCAA All-America, the second team of the Soccer America MVP, and the first team of the All-Mid-American Conference. There he spent three fruitful seasons and won the national championship in 2010. On an individual level, Darlington Nagbe won the 2010 Hermann’s Trophy for College Footballer of the Year. He scored 19 goals and 19 assists in 73 games in three college seasons with Akron.
The aspiring star joined the Portland Timbers in 2011 and made his debut in a 1-1 draw with New England Revolution. The next season, after finishing third-worst in the standings, the club was reunited with former boss Caleb Porter on 8 January 2013 when Porter was announced as the new Timbers coach. Porter wanted to help Darlington reinvent their game by using him as an outside striker instead of midfield. This more progressive role paid off as his creativity and astuteness helped make the team more deadly on the attack.
In the 2013 season, the Timbers took first place in the Western Conference and third place overall, earning them a place in the Conference Championship Series of MLS Cup Playoffs.
Atlanta United purchased Darlington on December 13, 2017, for $1.05 million from Portland Timbers and $600,000 in performance-based benefits. Under former Barcelona and Argentina coach Gerardo Tata Martino, Nagbe was part of an impressive frontline that scored the second-most goals in the league.
On the international stage, Darlington was first appointed to the United States national team in 2015 and made his debut on 13 November 2015 against St Vincent in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, scoring his first goal for the national team in the 90th minute of a friendly match against Ecuador on 25 May 2016.
Darlington was part of the United States side that failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. In qualifying, he started in 7 out of 10 games.
Wife and Family
Darlington Nagbe met Felicia Houtz while studying, and the couple married in 2012, with one son Kingston Nagbe and one daughter Mila Nagbe.
He was born the son of Somah and Joe Nagbe. His father Joe is a former professional football player who played for AS Monaco, Nice PAOK Thessaloniki, Panionios, PAS Giannina, and Al-Jazira Club. Joe Nagbe was also captain of the Liberian national team.
He has an older brother – Joe Nagbe Jr. – and two younger sisters, Seta and Martha.
Height, Weight, and Body Measurements
Darlington’s football style is more about intelligence, speed, deft footwork, and quick short passes than an imposing physical frame. He stands at 1.75 meters (5 feet 9 inches) and weighs 75 kg. Information about his other body measurements is not publicly available.