College: St John’s University (NY), Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
Major: Bachelor of Science in Economics
Accolades: Missouri Valley Conference all second team
Selected to represent the Somalia National team
NZ premiership winner
Signed and played for Melbourne Knights, AUS
NCAA sweet 16 participant
Mohammed is a current Somali international. Having been brought up in New Zealand, Mohammed would venture to the United States in pursuit of gaining his degree whilst looking to push himself in reaching his soccer potential. Mohammed had a strong collegiate career being a part of the South Illinois team that won their conference title before making a run to the NCAA sweet 16! Now a NZ Premiership winner, Mohammed continues to play his soccer in New Zealand.
Born and growing up in New Zealand I had very little knowledge of the college system and the potential opportunities that existed in America. It wasn’t until my final year of high school when I joined an academy in New Zealand that I began learning about the college system.
A showcase was organized by the academy where a handful of college coaches made the trip to New Zealand to potentially scout players. The academy had a strong connection with America with many of the staff having studied and played in America. I was fortunate enough to catch the eye of a St John’s university coach and began talks to bring me over. I committed in mid 2013 to go over for the 2014 spring semester. The main reason I chose SJU is because of the ranking of the program and location.
The advice I would give my past self is that rankings shouldn’t be the main driver of the college you decide to attend. It is very important to find a college system that suits your playing style/attributes. I learned from this experience and transferred to a school lower in the rankings at the time to finish my final 3 years. Southern Illinois university Edwardsville provided me with an opportunity to continue my football development because the system suited me.
We won the conference league title and tournament while I was there and made a great run in the NCAA tournament. Going into college I was undecided on what I wanted to major in. The great thing about the college system is that you can remain undecided and do general classes that everyone must take. It was an intro economics class that I enjoyed which led me to major in economics.
I credit my growth as a player and individual to my decision to go to America. Being so far from home, I had to adapt to a new lifestyle, and it was difficult at times, but it led me to learn more about myself. The biggest advice I could give to anyone thinking of becoming a student athlete is find an agency that has your best interests to place you somewhere you will thrive, and knowing James and the SSP team I know they won't lead you wrong!