Starting this month, we will highlight a local soccer player who is setting a positive example of hard work and leadership within our YWCA Youth Soccer Program.
We would like to introduce our Player of The Month, Jamal! Jamal was born in New Hartford, Connecticut, where his parents moved to from Kenya. Today, he and his family call Syracuse home. From starting out kicking a soccer ball around during elementary recess time, to joining the Syracuse City Futbol Community in 2018 as a freshman, Jamal’s love for the game has always been prevalent.
Jamal’s first year playing for Syracuse City FC was spent mostly as a supporting player, but through hard work and determination he subsequently became a starter on the forward line. The most valuable thing this program has taught him is, “how important it is to have a good attitude on the field.” Jamal demonstrates respect not only for his teammates, but for every individual on the field. Despite a questionable call from the referees, or an occasional snarky comment from an opponent, Jamal’s integrity is continuously displayed on the pitch, says Coach David Pittman.
Jamal states that Syracuse City FC has also strengthened his teamwork skills. Jamal is one of eleven children, so he grew up understanding the importance of working together as a family. Ironically, he is also one of eleven on the soccer field so the transition from family life to soccer was relatively easy. Jamal knows success does not rest on the shoulders of one individual, but the entire team. While he plays a position that provides him with the opportunity to score goals, he realizes that without the support of his teammates on the field, he would not be given the chance to drive the ball into the net. Jamal recognizes that each player on the team has an important role and has learned that his team plays to the best of its ability when everyone trusts and encourages one another. Jamal not only demonstrates the attributes of a strong leader at home, being the third oldest sibling, but in soccer as well. Syracuse City FC has been a great outlet for him to turn to, he says.
Coach David says Jamal has set a great example of determination and hard work for the other players and is always willing to help coach the younger players and guide them to do their best. The YWCA recognizes the dedication Jamal has put into soccer with the Syracuse City FC, as well as the betterment of himself. Here at the YWCA, we are committed to helping improve our players’ skill level – but also focused on helping build character through dedicated coach mentorships. Our program seeks to encourage players to develop leadership qualities, which is exactly what Jamal has done throughout his time playing for Syracuse City FC.
When asked where he would like to see himself in 5 years, Jamal says he is currently thinking about entering the field of education as a history teacher. Whatever career path he chooses to go down, there is one thing Jamal knows will be in his future: the game of soccer.