Nicholas Amoako is a dreamer and even more than that a man who knows how to make those dreams become a reality.  Long before Nicholas left Mankessim, Ghana with his family, including six younger sisters, as refugees to the United States in 2011, he knew soccer was what he wanted to do with his life.  As a very young boy, he watched a 2006 World Cup match between Ghana and Brazil. In the match, Brazil soundly defeated Ghana and lit a fire in Nicholas to take his fledgling soccer skills to the highest level possible, so that one day he could help Ghana defeat Brazil and all other teams at the most elite levels of the sport on a global stage.

At the tender age of 20, Nicholas is currently a striker on the United States League (USL) professional soccer team the Colorado Springs Switchbacks who he signed to July 11, 2018, and where he dons the number 18 jersey.  Amoako made his playing debut with the Switchbacks on July 14, 2018, only a few days later. When Nicholas first came to the United States, he was picked up by Coach Bruno Kalonji, head of the Atlanta based Kalonji Soccer Academy (KSA) “A Full-Service Soccer Organization” that “offers programs for children and adults to instill confidence through increased discipline, health, and education.”

Amoako is a product of KSA, where he was a member of the KSA ’98 team that won a National League title in 2014. Amoako has also played extensively with KSA’s Pro Profile elite amateur side.  Amoako attributes much of his success to his mother and to Coach Bruno who not only took him in at 15 but also shared his dream of playing soccer at the next level. Amoako explained that Coach Bruno loves the game as much as he does and loves even more his role as a mentor and coach assisting athletes to become not only better athletes and sportsmen but most importantly better people.

It was through the constant support of his family and Coach Bruno that Amoako overcame a pulled ACL in 2017 and with that injury essentially sent back to square one in his soccer aspirations as the injury sidelined him indefinitely.  For one year, Amoako worked hard in therapy, continued to train as the healing process permitted, and never lost sight of his goals. At the end of that recuperative year, Amoako tried out for the team he is currently on now and continues moving forward in his professional career.

When I asked him about a day in the life of a professional footballer (soccer player) Amaoko said on off days he’ll wake up, go for a run or to the gym for an hour and hang out with friends.  He is not the type who likes to hang out and prefers to train, improve, and spend time with the people that matter most. I asked what the duration of a soccer player playing at the elite level’s career looks like and Amaoko said unlike other sports with soccer, “you can play as long as you want as long as your body plays along with you.”  He added that at this point in his career he wants to play soccer until he can’t play anymore.

When we talked about his future, Amaoko says, “My main goal is to reach the next level, and there is always the next level to everything. I will keep pushing and become the top player I know I can be.” Amaoko also expressed his desire to go back to Ghana at some point to help others and teach from his experience. With regard to his professional soccer career and where it might take him, Amaoko said, “I leave my future up to God and don’t make predictions about where I’ll go.”  

Some fast facts and words to inspire others who want to play soccer (or do anything) at the next level:

  • “I believe anyone can do anything.  If you really want something you have to keep working and keep pushing and never stop.”
  • “I love playing the FIFA video game all day long if I’m given a chance.  I’m great at it.”
  • “When I’m on the field, everything goes away; it is the only place I feel free. Being on the field is my happy place.  As soon as I step on the field and touch the ball no matter what is going on in my life it just fades away.”
  • Parting Words of Advice: “Keep your head up, no matter what and don’t ever look back just keep moving forward.”

Inspiring words and an inspiring story from an amazing young man.  We need to keep our eyes on this one he is going places and if we heed his words and sage advice, we can too.

 

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