STORIES

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MENFORD DANSO OWUSU | GHANA

TENNIS & SOCCER

Starting tennis at age 4, I lived across from a tennis court which made it easier for me. There were a lots of struggles to find the right equipment as my family wasn't privileged. I made the junior national team by age 9, and I gave it my all from there. I was recruited into the national program where I was able to have enough access to equipment. Playing the junior tournaments gave me the necessary experience and exposure. I was offered a scholarship to play college tennis in the United States but it was very difficult to obtain a student visa. The Lord finally opened a way for me and after 2 years of struggle, I finally got a visa. I moved to California to play for a junior college but the college budget was low because of State budget cuts. Just when I thought all hope was lost, my childhood friend Salif Kante contacted me about an opening spot in Georgia. I took this opportunity and moved to Atlanta within 24 hours to complete all the necessary paperwork since it was already late for applications. I signed with Georgia Perimeter College. My coach, Coach Reda Nait-Omar, helped me win the national championship in singles in the spring of 2012. I finished number 1 in the nation and got sought after by many top division 1 schools. Again, God helped me choose Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. I got there but was ruled ineligible by the NAIA because of my short time playing professional tennis. The school was still very generous and I was still blessed with the greatest opportunity to be part of their great Christ-centered family. They still offered me grants to enable me to stay and finish my studies. I currently assist the tennis team as a senior now anticipating to graduate and I'm also part of the soccer team.

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PRISCILLA BARROS | BRAZIL 

SOCCER

I am originally from Brazil. Soccer is everything to me and I have played it since very little.  I came to the U.S. as a student-athlete, which gave me the opportunity to receive a Full athletic scholarship. I’m about to graduate this fall and, thanks to God I  have had a great experience in all my colleges and teams that I played for. At soccer I was the MVP and leading scorer for two years, and was also nominated All-Regional player for the 1st team of the league NJCAA in 2011 and 2012. Educationally, I sustained a 3.86 GPA,  which allowed me an opportunity to be a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society,  and I was nominated to the Dean’s List for all of the semesters during the three and a  half years. I worked hard and I was confident that if I dedicated myself, I would make it,  and I did. I am very proud of myself and expectant of what the future is going to bring after getting my college degree.

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EUGENIE CHRISTINE | CAMEROON 

TENNIS

 I was born in a city called Yaounde, Cameroon. I am one of the youngest in my large  family.  I was introduced to tennis at a young age by my dad watching tennis matches on TV. I picked up the racquet at seven years of age and committed to tennis when I was eight. The reason I wanted to come to the U.S. was because my mother saw how I was struggling to make it into the society- not because I wasn't good but because I wasn't wealthy enough to be part of those who had a lot of money. My mother worked hard for me to have a future in tennis so I could fulfill my  dream and make a way for my younger siblings.

 

The road to the United States was not an easy one.  When my mother found a way for me to get to the US, she took it without hesitation. She sold whatever she had for me to go. When I was in Africa, I played several tournaments in my country as well as other areas. When I was in high school in Tennessee, I participated in a lot of different tournaments such as USTA and high school division tournaments where I won state in my division and made history in my school. I got to college by the opened doors that came to me after winning state. I took a scholarship in Texas and I'm about to graduate. When I decided to embark on this journey several years ago, I had to sacrifice a great deal such as not seeing my family for a very long period time which has turned into years now. My success will open doors for my younger brothers and sisters and I can't afford to fail because they depend on me to succeed and to make a way for them. I am certain and have faith that God is in control and I'm absolutely trusting Him with my life and soul. 

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PRISCILLA BARROS | BRAZIL 

SOCCER

I am originally from Brazil. Soccer is everything to me and I have played it since very little.  I came to the U.S. as a student-athlete, which gave me the opportunity to receive a Full athletic scholarship. I’m about to graduate this fall and, thanks to God I  have had a great experience in all my colleges and teams that I played for. At soccer I was the MVP and leading scorer for two years, and was also nominated All-Regional player for the 1st team of the league NJCAA in 2011 and 2012. Educationally, I sustained a 3.86 GPA,  which allowed me an opportunity to be a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society,  and I was nominated to the Dean’s List for all of the semesters during the three and a  half years. I worked hard and I was confident that if I dedicated myself, I would make it,  and I did. I am very proud of myself and expectant of what the future is going to bring after getting my college degree.

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OLUWASEUN MATTHEW KUDAISI | NIGERIA 

CROSS COUNTRY

I was born and grew up in Nigeria located in West Africa. I grew up in one of  most popular ethnics group in Nigeria called Yoruba. I came to United States of America in 2010 as an international student to study pre-medicine and Biology. I have been running track and field from 5th grade until I graduated from high school. I was  blessed with a scholarship to study in the United States of America. I enjoy running  and it is fun to me. 

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CAROLLINE REIS | BRAZIL 

VOLLEYBALL

I am 22 years old. I was blessed to receive a scholarship and I play volleyball at  Southeastern where I am majoring in International business. Last season I got some awards from volleyball, including Sun Conference Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, and   First Team after leading the league in hitting percentage (.355) and kills (429). I also made 106 total blocks, 27 assists, 31 aces, and 195 digs. I also made 10+ kills in 12 straight games. I had 23 games with an attacking percentage over .300. In addition,  I had 20 kills in a five set comeback win over St. Thomas on 11/1 and season best 21 kills on 11/19 against   Shorter in the NCCAA Regional. I also had three solo blocks and assisted on six others in debut against Southern Wesleyan on 8/23. I had 17 digs and 10 kills against Coastal Georgia on 8/30. When I was at Vernon college, I hit .421 with 244 total kills, 66 blocks, 59 aces and 120 digs. I was named to the all-district team and also selected as Team Leader of the Year. I'm thankful for this opportunity to be able to play and study at the same.

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YVONNE KAMAGNE | CAMEROON

TENNIS

I started playing tennis when I was 9 years old. I practiced a lot and competed for the national team of Cameroon. When I got my high school diploma, my friends told me to play college tennis and that it will be a great opportunity. Through some friends I got the chance to apply and receive a scholarship in America. My experience as a  student athlete is not easy in between classes, matches, practices, early morning weightroom, and workout. It is an amazing experience where I have to compete hard against some great and ranked players. I have fun at matches and practices with my team while giving our best. For the  awards, my freshman year I got the rookie of the year award plus the most valuable player. During my second year as a transfer in a Division 1 university, I got the award of the best newcomer of the year. This year as a junior, I am nominated in the all academic team of my conference as well as the athletic director's spring honor roll. 

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AICHE NADO | SENEGAL 

BASKETBALL

 I started playing basketball at a very young age in Senegal. I did not give it much thought and was just having fun every time I stepped on the court.  My family and some friends encouraged me to pursue it and play college basketball abroad. They encouraged me to believe in myself and dream big.  I have been playing for about 12        years and I do love the game a lot. I decided to apply for scholarships after high school and got a scholarship to an outstanding university in California. I did well last year and was was awarded defense player of the year. My dream is to become a professional athlete and play in WNBA.

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PELAGIE GAMO | Cameroon

TENNIS

I have been playing tennis for as long as I can remember. There is something magical and empowering about tennis. I always feel so free and liberated every time I steppe a court. I grew up in a family where school and tennis were the outlets for a better future so I went to school every day and I remember heading  to practice right   afterschool. There was no such thing as days off. Hard-work and determination are the skills that enabled me to pursue both tennis and school. With these skills, I was able to obtain a full scholarship at a university in the U.S. and then received my bachelor degree four years later. I believe that education and sports go hand in hand. Hard-work, focus, and determination surely do pay off. Keep working hard and never give up on your dreams. Everything is possible when you believe in yourself.