If you'd like to follow in Ike's footsteps and play soccer in America while working towards a degree the apply to FirstPointUSA today!
"My heart desire to play soccer and study was granted" - Ike Ekwueme
5 min read
Former FirstPointUSA client Ike Ekwueme has enjoyed great success both on the pitch and in the classroom during his time in America. He's taken the time to write about his journey... The journey started off as far back as my high school days in England. In high school, Mathís, English and Science were not my strongest courses. I was in set 3 for these courses which was equivalent to the lowest rank. I wasnít a bad student, but I had a little test anxiety, I was afraid of the unknown. But one day, I said to myself, enough is enough. I refused to be satisfied with a low position. So I set myself some goals. I said, I will graduate from high school with straight Aís in Mathís, English and Science. I decided to do all it took to succeed. I identified some students in my class who were strong in Mathís, English, and Science and I studied with them. I spent many hours after school with my teachers. I studied hard behind closed doors. I was determined, nothing less than an A was acceptable. Ultimately, I achieved my goal. I graduated from high school with an A in Mathís, English, and Science. During my high school years, I was also passionate about soccer. But, I had to overcome fear on the soccer field. †I wanted to play at a higher level but I was nervous about playing in front of a large crowd. It wasnít normal because every talented player in any sport or trade wants to demonstrate their skills in front of a large audience. In my case, the bigger the crowd, the more anxious I became. On the bus to soccer matches, it was like my teammates were wishing for bigger crowds but I was wishing for smaller crowds. †I didnít invite my parents and relatives to my club soccer matches because they would increase the size of the crowd. After moments of reflection, I discovered that I was afraid because I was not confident in my ability to play soccer and I needed to improve. So I went outside to practice regularly, no weather condition could stop me from practicing. Regardless of the rain, sun, and snow, I was outside practicing. Like many of us during high school, I wanted to be a professional soccer player. I sent many emails to many coaches. I went to many tryouts and I learned something new from every tryout. After many training sessions and tryouts, my confidence and ability increased. Soon after, it was decision time. I was 17 years old and I had to choose whether to continue my education in University or pursue soccer. I wanted the best of both worlds; my heart desire was to continue playing soccer and get a Bachelorís degree. I was thinking within myself, there must be a program out there that will allow me to continue playing soccer and study at the same time. I had faith and I continued to work hard in the classroom and on the soccer field. I was working hard for something I could not see physically, but I could see it with my eyes of faith. Suddenly, an opportunity came to study and play soccer in America. My dad discovered a sport management company (First Point USA) that helps students continue their sporting ambitions, while earning a degree at the same time. †On the day of the tryout, I was thinking to myself, is this real? I knew that this was a great opportunity and I could not miss it. I stepped up to the challenge, and I was accepted. My academic achievement and soccer ability positioned me for a big scholarship. I chose to go to American International College and I donít regret my decision. †I was surrounded with a great team, good friends; I even had a barber on campus for all four years.† Also, I have a great family at home, who were supporting me every step of the way. I knew all eyes were on me and I couldnít disappoint them. After four years, I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (4.0 GPA). I was the Valedictorian. Also, I was selected for the NEISL All Star Soccer team. My encouragement for every reader today: That situation in front of you that looks impossible is actually your opportunity to go to the next level. Iíll like you to look at those tasks or goals in your life that look impossible and start taking steps toward those goals today. You wonít know whatís next until you overcome whatís now. You will never see whatís next, until you challenge those battles in front of you right now. The word impossible is not in my vocabulary and it shouldnít be in yours too. The word impossible doesnít exist. Look closely at the word, it doesnít say impossible, it says Iím possible. That means youíre possible and itís possible, as long as you believe.