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PreSeason

Push! Two more sprints remaining!

My legs are aching, I’m not sure I can go anymore.

Push! One more sprint remaining!

I’m starting to cramp up a bit. This is really uncomfortable but I can’t stop now. 

Done! Well done!


If you are reading this as an athlete, then you will be very familiar with these words; with this feeling. These are your innermost thoughts during one of the toughest times every athlete goes through, also known as, Pre Season. Pre season is a time to really get in top shape for the gruesome season ahead. A good pre season means your body will have durability. You will be able to recover faster physically and mentally during the season.


In life, there are times when it might feel like a preseason. This particular stage in life is always preparing us for an upcoming phase. Preseason is a tough period. It’s not necessarily fun either. Despite the discomfort that comes with these times, preseason is necessary! You begin your new season without fear of injuries and or a breakdown because of what you endured throughout preseason.

So if you are going through an uncomfortable phase in your life right now, grow through it. It’s temporary; it’s ONLY preseason.  Your season is just around the corner. Soon, you will reap the rewards from all the discomfort you’re feeling now! 

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Rise Above the challenge  

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PreSeason is a tough time, our facial expression tells it all  

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Relentless; To Whom It May Concern

 “Tell your story...Tell your story”. These are the words I heard after I said Amen, to conclude my evening prayer. I had just finished talking to my sister on the phone and was ready to get some shuteye.

 

“Tell your story,Tell your story”

 

I knew it was God telling me to do this. I am not sure exactly what came over me but before you and God, I can’t make this up when I say I picked up a pen and paper and wrote 5 episodes, within twenty minutes! Looking back, it was peace in the midst of a stormy time in my life. I thank God for giving my team and I strength to complete this show.

 

“We all have a story to tell” 

 Lastly, to those who will tune in; both willingly and reluctantly, thank you. I appreciate you both very much.Obstacles are only put in our way to test if we are truly willing to fight for our goals. If this show sparks the slighest bit of motivation in your mental, then my job here is done. Stay Relentless. Enjoy the show,

                                              Yours Truly,

                                               Samuel Adjei Jr

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Junior

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Me First

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Me First

Me First

So my sister made a group chat on Whatsapp which includes herself, my dad, Mom and I. Recently my dad shared a video from Denzel Washington. This video, which I believe has gone viral now, is of Mr.Washington  speaking at a graduation. His first message was; Always Put God First. This message really drove home for me in a very personal way. Let me explain why;


I was brought up in a Home where God was paramount. In fact, He was everything and still is. The older I got, I can confess that the lesser He came first. This was especially evident during my college days where I definitely began to put my career in soccer ahead of Him. A gift which God himself graced me with in the first place. Then there were relationships that I put before Him. Meaning I had certain people so deeply in my heart that they subconsciously came before God in my mind. God doesn’t work that way ladies and gentlemen. In order to drive home that fact, He simply took away the gifts He gave me;one by one. My career was slowly put on hold, I voluntarily and sometimes involuntarily lost relationships.


It wasn’t until I rearranged my priorities and put God first,that he slowly gave me my gifts back. He gave me my career back in a better way than I could have imagined. In terms of relationships, He reminded me that my relationship with Him matters the most and if I take care of that, He will bring great people into my life, which He has also been doing.


To sum it all up, Keep God First in everything you do. I had to learn the hard way. So today I tell you not to repeat the same mistake I made. If you won’t take it from me, then take it from one of the most gifted actors of all time, Denzel Washington.

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God First

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Feeling like a new me; a better me!! 

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Imperfection

        Imperfection is defined by Google Dictionary as "a fault, blemish, or undesirable feature". In my own words, being imperfect means being a human being. We are all human, therefore, we all have imperfections. Nobody's perfect; that's a fact. 

     We reside in a social media world that allows us to be able to put filters on everything. We depict to our thousands of followers, at least 80% of whom we do not even know, that our lives are always awesome and that we are truly happy and at peace. Even during depressing phases of our lives, we are able to disguise it and just put a filter on it; Valencia is my personal favorite on Instagram. It just gives you the "right amount of brightness". Social media likes and comments we get release dopamine into our systems and dopamine is the same addictive "feel good chemical" which is released into our bodies when we drink alcohol, smoke and even gamble. This is why most of us are addicted to social media and the saddest part of it all is that most of us are unaware of our addiction; imperfection. 

         We live in a generation where self esteem is at its lowest and where admitting to being flawed is seen as weakness. I recently met a well know public figure whose vibe did not feel as authentic in person as it did when I'd like their pictures and the deep captions they so often put under those pictures. Not to mention the fact that they looked absolutely nothing like their pictures. I can't say I was surprised but I was left slightly disappointed from the experience.

       Readers, it is okay to be imperfect. Embrace the fact that you're here on Earth striving to be the best version of you that you can be. It takes amazing strength to look yourself in the mirror everyday and know that you're imperfect but you are better today than you were yesterday. I'm currently in the process of learning to do more of that and I encourage you to do the same. We might take steps backwards at times but it's okay. Like Kendrick Lamar says, "We gon' be alright"  . We are imperfect; we are human beings.

 " There would be no need for love if perfection were possible. Love arises from our imperfection, from our being different and always in need of the forgiveness, encouragement and that missing half of ourselves that we are searching for, as the Greek myth tells us, in order to complete ourselves ".  Eugene Kennedy 

 "There would be no need for love if perfection were possible. Love arises from our imperfection, from our being different and always in need of the forgiveness, encouragement and that missing half of ourselves that we are searching for, as the Greek myth tells us, in order to complete ourselves".  Eugene Kennedy 

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More Than A Coach

I was about 13 years old and was about a year and half into adjusting to my new life. Moving from Ghana to America was a bit difficult in the beginning. It meant a new school, new friends and being under the supervision of my parents again. I had not seen my dad for about four years and I had not seen my mother for a year. It was good to finally spend time with them again. I missed a lot of things about Ghana but what I missed most was the football. Being able to just walk to the park and train with my team in the beautiful and sunny weather with kids my age whom I had become very good friends with. My dad did his best to take me to Kozak Sports in Randolph on some weekends. The only problem with this was that Kozak was more than an hour drive and for my dad to do that on his only off day from work was just something I didn't want him to do. He worked hard and deserved his rest. Some days he will take me to Weequahic Park in Newark,NJ where we lived just so I could kick the ball around for a bit.

 

On this particular afternoon, there was a team training across from the field my dad and I kicked about at. They seemed about my age even though they were physically bigger than I was. My dad went and talked to the Coach to see if I could train with the team. He introduced himself as Luis. Luis said I could train with the team and after the training, he said he would like for me to join his Den of Lions team. It seemed everything was falling into place. I believe my dad was pleasantly surprised at how good I was as he had never really seen me play up until that point. Soon it was official, I was the new Den of Lions #18. Back then I did not think much of Luis apart from him being the coach from Portugal who was a very good coach and knew his football. As time goes on, I realize I am right. Not only is Luis a good coach but he was a great man. This would be the beginning of a special relationship, one I still value very much.

 

Coach Luis would go out of his way to pick me up to and from training. It was the only way I would have made it to training because my parents were working. Luis would take me as his own and on the field I simply just wanted to win for Luis. I would get very upset when we lost and he would simply tell me I was young and to never forget to have fun. I was the captain on the team and the top scorer. I became good friends with my teammates and it felt like family and Luis was our father figure. Luis even wanted me to move to Portugal and try out for Den of Lions' parent team, Sporting Lisbon(Academy) but I was a bit too young and wasn't ready. Healways told me I will play at a higher level and that I was a difference maker on the field.

 

Few years later I would join the New York Red Bulls academy and a few things will change in my life. One thing that remained constant was that I always had Coach Luis' phone number memorized in my mind and would keep in touch with him throughout the years. I was happy to reunite with him a few months ago and have lunch with his family together with mine. I hope to always have Coach Luis in my life and I am forever grateful to him because one thing is for sure, Luis was more than a coach to me.

 

luis

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GAME DAY

Game Day vs Vendsyssel

Leading up to the game, it had been a very eventful week. To be honest my mind was not really on football. I had a couple things going on that weren't in my control but left me frustrated. As an athlete you have to be able to put everything else to the side once you cross that line whether it's for training or a game; full concentration. I did my best to clear my mind,my mates needed me at my best. Coach told me I'd be starting at right midfield in a 4-2-3-1

Vendsyssel is about four hours away from Næstved; a very long trip. They are a good side that play good football. They have a few foreigners who are very dangerous. Being the away side we planned to stay tight as a unit, work collectively defensively and hit them on the counter. We had a lot of speed out wide with our skipper Munks and myself. Our 'maestro' Jeppe can pick a pass. We had Dani and Baes in center mid working tirelessly. Stef up top holding the ball up and linking up play. Our defense was solid as well and our bench was ready.

Before kickoff I felt very calm. I have never been the type screaming and yelling before a game. I leave that to my mates. I'm very quiet and I don't know if I'm 'in the zone' or what term I would refer to this state as but it's just peace,confidence and subtle happiness. I'm confident that if I work offensively and defensively the rest will take care of itself. I want to wear my prey down and then go for the kill. By prey, I mean the opposition left back whose primary task is to mark me, but 1v1 he can't.

Goal! 

Goal! 

Naked fan....crazy

Naked fan....crazy

The game begins and the first half is perhaps our best half so far this season. We look good and start the game aggressively. Fifteen minutes into the game a naked man runs onto the pitch. He's a Vendsyssel fan. I'm not happy because we have a good rhythm but haven't gotten a goal yet. We don't need this distraction. Anyway he's escorted off the pitch and a few minutes later I beat two players and take a shot with my left foot, the keeper fumbles it and Stef does what every good striker does. Anticipate the ball and be the first to rebounds. He taps it in and we are a goal up. Second half Vendsyssel get a penalty and convert. I play 80 minutes and I'm exhausted when I come off the pitch. Vendsyssel put a lot of pressure on us and I have to defend a lot in the second half. It's an away game and even though we could have won we will take the point.

Shadrach

Shadrach

After the game we are stretching and I hear someone say my name from the touch line. To my surprise it's Shadrach Eghan. I was really happy because Shadrach and I played for the Ghana u-20 National Team together and I didn't know he was now a Vendsyssel player! It is great seeing him and we converse for a bit. I head inside and find some alone time to pray. I thank God for allowing me to get through this difficult week which ended well. The fans vote me man of the match for my performance. This week emphasized the need to stay focused on the field regardless of what's going on in my personal life. Note taken. God give me strength.

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LET'S TAKE A TRIP

The best part about living in Denmark is that it's very easy to travel and visit other nearby European countries. I've visited Germany and Sweden on my day off, usually a Tuesday. On this particular Tuesday I decided to take a trip to London!

I've spent a lot of time in England in my past. As a sixteen year old I trained with Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County as well. I decided or I guess my parents decided that I needed a college education. At the time I wanted to go professional right away but looking back I thank them for pushing me to get an education. Who knows what might have been had I skipped college? Good or bad I'm grateful.

Didier The King 👑  

Didier The King 👑  

It was a beautiful day in London and I called for an Uber when I arrived at Stansted. After a few minutes of conversation with the Uber driver I found out he was from Ghana and we spoke the same language! It was such a coincidence. His name is Len and he ended up just driving me around all day and showing me around. Safe to say I made a new friend.  My first stop was Stamford Bridge, the home of the Blues. What a beautiful stadium! One of my favorite players of all time is Didier Drogba. We share the same birthday, I've read his book and have spent hours watching several videos of him just studying his movement.  One of the most complete strikers of all time. It was great seeing his old stomping grounds.

Fulham

Fulham

Next I went to Craven Cottage, the home of Fulham. Fulham has had several Americans represent them. Brian McBride, Clint Dempsey, Carlos Bocanegra, Kasey Keller and Eddie Johnson are the first players that come to mind. By this time I was hungry so Len and I went to Asafo Restaurant and I had banku and pepper with tilapia and also some jollof. I ate so much and I was delighted to have Ghanaian food.  I spent the night at a nearby hotel and in the morning flew back home in time for training in the afternoon. 

From a kid born and raised in Tema, Ghana 🇬🇭 . To living in Newark, New Jersey 🇺🇸  and then spending four years in New York attending college. I am blessed for everything life has brought my way. This chapter living alone in Europe has been very eye opening for me and I've grown a lot in my time here. Life is too short so do what makes you happy. Soccer has brought me a lot of joy and opportunities to be able to travel and see the world. Enjoy the pictures!

Chelsea F.C

Chelsea F.C

French Ghanaian Marcel Desailly  

French Ghanaian Marcel Desailly  

Costa,Drogba,Matic,Remy, Zouma  

Costa,Drogba,Matic,Remy, Zouma  

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Consistency

"Off the post, off the crossbar, I simply can't hit the target today! The goal looks so small today but I know all this is in my head. I have to be consistent with my work ethic and keep my faith in God and in my own abilities. I will be better for it". This is a conversation I have had with myself more times that I would like to admit. The truth is consistency is paramount to success. In my line of work, consistency means bringing the same high intensity and commitment to not only games but also to training as well. The greatest players are also the most consistent. Day in and day out, week in week out, game after game and season after season. They crave winning so bad that they are willing to go through the toil at their maximum capacity every single day. Whether it is a good or bad day they always work their socks off! That bit is guaranteed! You know exactly what to expect from them on any given day; 110% commitment; everything they have and then a bit more.

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Mental strength is a big part of being consistent. Just like you hit the gym to work on your muscles, you need to train your mind as well. For me I do this by reading books on sports psychology and implementing them in order to see which ones work for me. Relentless by Tim Grover is a great example of a book that changed my life and I highly recommend it. For example,  in the last bit of training I'll challenge myself to sprint harder no matter how tired I might be feeling and cover more ground. I'll also challenge myself to defend more aggressively because I don't want to lose a 1v1. Truth is I have gotten to a point where I am constantly challenging myself mentally and physically and that's what works for me. 

Find what works for you and work on being consistent. Remember that you will have bad days but do not ever let that get in the way of how much effort you give! You control that always!  Why be average and be like everyone else when you can be great? Consistency is key.

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UNDERDOG

Underdog

-A competitor thought to have little chance of winning a fight or contest.(Google Dictionary)

       Blood,sweat and tears. It's not too difficult for people to picture the blood and sweat part. To most people, the tears part is some sort of a myth. 

       I know you work hard, even though you are often overlooked. That is okay, you keep working hard because what drives you is deeper than they could ever imagine. When you win, it's called an upset and people are absolutely shocked. You remain the calmest person about the win because to you, it's just all the work you put in paying off. 

       The red carpet was never laid out for you. That is okay because you still find a tunnel to maneuver under and still make it to the big event. People call your success luck, you call it your relentless pursuit. The journey is painful physically, but you crave the results so bad that you're always mentally ready.

       I've seen your blood and sweat. I have felt your tears. We will keep striving and proving ourselves right. They can sleep on us, they don't exist in our world anyway. You ask why I say "we" and "us". It's because I too, like you, am underdog. If you know then you know.

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Sammy Adjei visits former club NYRB

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Sammy Adjei visits former club NYRB

It was great visiting the club that I have represented since I was 14 years old. Red Bull will forever hold a place in my heart. From playing in the academy, through college, and also working with the first team, I really grew up as a man and as a soccer player during my time at the club. I also met a lot of good people that I hold in the highest regard. Special thanks to Fernando, I love you Papa.

Link Below For Video/----->Near Header will also take you to link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_j6NfM5oAY

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7am In Newark, New Jersey

Thunder, lightening, they say when it rains it pours. It was only a bit cloudy this morning when I stepped outside in my black St. Benedict's Prep hoodie and khaki pants. With no umbrella I guess this hoodie will have to do for now. The rain has a mind of its own and it just will not quit. I sit here at the bus stop on Chancellor Ave,and Schley St as I await the Bus 39 which goes to Downtown, Newark. I will get off at Broad and Market St. then walk up to Dr.Martin Luther King Blvd.where my school is located. My school is perhaps one of the most well known high schools in the country. From our great scholastic achievements to our athletic accomplishments, I am certain you can not mention high school in America without hearing about St. Benedict's Prep one way or the other.

Still sitting at the bus stop hoping it will arrive in ten minutes, the way it is scheduled. Maybe even eight minutes if I am lucky. Wishful thinking with the way my luck has been lately. With the rain pouring down, I guess all I can do is wait. I guess this rain epitomizes my current life. I wish being a teenager came with a manual. Not to mention these standardized tests are just stressful. 

Now the rain has turned into a drizzle, this is much better. I guess it can't rain forever right? The sun has to come out some time. This is how the world works and this is how life works too. If I can just find a way to dance through the rain, then I will see a brighter day. That is exactly what I am going to do. God give me strength.

The Bus 39 arrives and it is time to head to school. For what it's worth, the bus arrived two minutes earlier than scheduled to. Maybe this is an omen. Today might be the day my rain stops after all, but I guess a light drizzle will soothe me just fine for now. 

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A Letter To My Younger Self

What's up Junior? It is a beautiful day in Copenhagen, which is where I write to you from. I know you have just moved from Ghana to the United States to reunite with your parents after not seeing them for a few years. You are probably wondering what in the world you are doing in Denmark some years later! Let me tell you a secret! You know the sport that you have so much fun playing every day? Yes, the one that you rush through your home work just so you could partake in? Well, it will become your profession. You will be expected to show up and perform every single day. The only thing I will ask of you is to never forget to have fun, no matter how tense things may get at times. You will play for both the USA and Ghana Youth National Teams and meet some awesome people. I know you want me to elaborate but that will just take the fun out of all the surprises in store for you!

Kid, I know you love God and soon you will go to high school then college. During these times you will feel further away from Him. Just remember that He is always by your side. He will protect you and never lead you astray. Stick with Him!

You will lose some loved ones; some will pass away, and others the relationship will sink. Yes I know this sucks but learn from your mistakes and be happy that these relationships happened. Seasons change and people can change too. Don't attempt to wear a tank top during a harsh winter season. You will not make it

There will be times when you do not see the light at the end of the tunnel and question your calling. You will receive a lot of No's throughout your career and injuries will make you consider giving it all up. Grow through these moments of adversity. They will become great assets, make you mentally stronger and help you become relentless.

I will end this letter here. I love you kid, love yourself and through it all, Rise Above.

                                                                                                              Yours truly,

                                                                                                                      Sammy 

rainydays
#9USA
nyrbu15
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She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

I met her when I was very young. I didn't know what that feeling I felt back then was, but today I can tell you it was infatuation, passion and love at first sight. She is one of those girls you have to work hard for, no matter how much of a catch you think you are. I knew I wanted her to be a part of my life forever! I knew from that day that we will always be together, even if she didn't know it yet. I put in the work for her and got to know more about her. She brought joy to my heart. Like any relationship the honeymoon phase didn't last for that long and the tough times came. Some days I felt I was getting the short end of the relationship. Like Donell Jones sings, "she gives me all her love, but only half the time". I would make all these plans for her and get stood up last minute. I got a bit tired of seeing her everyday but after going a few days without her, I'd find myself missing her again. To sum it all up some days I felt like, she loved me, she loved me not. Now if this kind of relationship sounds familiar then you can relate. You might be thinking about a significant other, but ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my relationship with the game of soccer.

 

I love the game and worked hard to get where I am today. I am still working hard because I have not reached the pinnacle of my goals. I love scoring goals and running past a defender. Body feint left, wait for the defender to fall for the fake, then I slide right and hear the crowd get excited as I run in on goal. Now it is just me and the goalkeeper. One on one and I would bet my house on putting this one away. I have trained this shot all week and all my life really. My muscle memory is so candid that I do not have to think about what to do next. I curl the ball around the keeper. I am already running towards the fans to celebrate, who even seem more certain that this is a goal than I do. Unfortunately, the ball hits the post and rolls out for a goal kick! Unbelievable! Soccer is my high and low. When soccer is going well I feel invincible. When it is not going well I just want to stay home and sulk for a bit. Any of my family, friends, and agent will tell you I love the game and sacrificed a lot for it. Soccer has helped me see the world and experience priceless times. Despite this, soccer has also resulted in injuries and a surgery. Soccer has led to me having low confidence during bad times on the field and me constantly putting pressure on myself to perform. I spend time at the gym and do extra before training and sometimes after. All in preparation for a game on the weekend. Some weekends the game goes well and I am ecstatic and other weekends I just feel unlucky and neglected by the game I love so much.

 

Even though there are ups and downs, I must admit that I love this game. Yes some times I feel she loves me, she loves me not. One thing is for sure though, we will be together for a very long time.

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A First Time For Everything

It was a cold November night, raining and quite windy. The grass on the pitch was very rough and slippery to say the least. It was basically a typical November night in Denmark! On this night Næstved Boldklub will be playing host to Superliga team FC Nordsjælland. I was very excited to start the game especially in the striker's position and spent the night before the game just following my pregame routine(will go more into pregame routine details in a different post). I expected my team to pull an upset and I knew I would play a big part in it, either scoring a goal or getting an assist. Training had gone well that week and this all added on to my confidence.

 

Kick off time arrives and the referee blows the whistle. In my first involvement of the game,I post up on the center back, get a feel of him to know exactly where he is behind me. I then check in towards the ball and then make a run deep towards the corner flag.I do this in the beginning to the test how fast or slow my defender is. 9 times out of 10 I see I am faster than him. Tonight should be a fun night!

 

Ten minutes into the game, I lose the ball for the first time to the center back. Prior to that my hold up play had been great and so I was a bit upset to lose that ball. As the defender goes to clear the ball, I slide tackle him and catch him a little bit late with my studs. I personally didn't think it was that bad of a challenge but of course he is rolling around as if he has been two-footed; one for the Oscars really. Yellow Card!! The referee puts my name in his book for the first time.

 

Twenty five minutes into the game and the match is scoreless. I was feeling sharp in my movement and in my combination play with my teammates. The past five minutes though have been a bit frustrating for me. I absolutely hate losing the ball and I think it is safe to say every professional soccer player does! I lose the ball twice in a row and this is not helping my team keep the ball and build an attack. On this particular occasion I fake a deep run and check in short for the ball to my feet. The defender follows me and I think, great, I am going to turn him. Unfortunately my first touch is not quite right and it turns into a 50-50 challenge.

 

As mentioned before it was a rainy night and the field was slippery. As I go into the challenge I slip and catch my opponent in the ankle. The referee blows his whistle and quickly approaches me. The entire stadium is so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. I am thinking what everyone else is probably thinking. Red Card!! The referee sends me in for an early shower. I feel the decision is a bit harsh but nothing I can do now. The fans chant my name as I walk off the field and what transpired doesn't actually hit me until I am in the locker room. I can't believe it! I phone my father who picks up the phone in shock asking me if my game got cancelled. All I can say is, 'no dad, I got a red card! my first ever red! I didn't deserve it'. We will later get another red card before half time and some how still manage to go on and win the game! It was one of the most shocking results in the DBU Pokal.

 

I am an aggressive player but not a dirty one. In football, anything can happen. On that cold rainy night in November, I learned that there's a first time for everything.
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red

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Why Football?

It was during midweek when my mother picked my sister and I up after school to head to Accra Sports Stadium to watch my father play. The atmosphere was rather intimidating and despite all the noise in the stadium, a younger me still felt right at home. It was the first time I got to see my dad at work. He was a tough and intelligent defender. He was the captain of his team and led the team to a win, which led to the supporters chanting his name. From that day, I knew I wanted the same job he had. Fast forward to another match I saw which featured my uncle, the younger brother of my dad in my hometown Tema. Like my dad, he was also a crowd favorite for his side. The crowd chanted his name but not for being a tough defender but a pacey winger. He was the most skillful and flashy player on the field and he did what he wanted, when he wanted. From that day I knew I wanted to be the man scoring goals and showing my skills offensively.

I come from a footballing family and from childhood, all I knew was the game. I watched it so much that even back then, I knew every player's name and team. My favorite player growing up was the Brazilian Ronaldo. I recall my mother saying that when Brazil would lose, I would throw tantrums and refuse to eat for the entire day! I was always playing football when I could and when I was 9 years old I joined my first team and played the same position my Uncle did. I tried to emulate his skills while keeping the same intelligence and tenacity my dad played with. 

I am proud to say that my dad is an Olympian and holds a bronze medal from the 1992 Olympic Games which were held in Barcelona, Spain. Through my dad I met several of his teammates whom I absolutely adored. The likes of Abedi Pele, Anthony Yeboah and Samuel Osei Kuffuor will forever be legends in Ghanaian football. My dad showed me grit; that if I wanted to make it in football I had to always work hard and never give up. I had to sacrifice partying and going out with my friends on some weekends in order to be well rested for training and games. He showed me that if you put the work  in and you train like a professional then you will be successful. For that I say, thank you dad. 

Sammy Adjei Sr. and Sammy Adjei Jr  http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/sammi-adjei-of-ghana-in-action-during-their-match-against-news-photo/1917249?#jul-1992-sammi-adjei-of-ghana-in-action-during-their-match-against-picture-id1917249

Sammy Adjei Sr. and Sammy Adjei Jr

http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/sammi-adjei-of-ghana-in-action-during-their-match-against-news-photo/1917249?#jul-1992-sammi-adjei-of-ghana-in-action-during-their-match-against-picture-id1917249

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Ghana U20 Journal from 06/25/12

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Ghana U20 Journal from 06/25/12

Training has gone well here in Ghana, where I have been given the opportunity to play myself onto the U20 squad for a qualifying game against Uganda and a friendly against Egypt.  It has been great to be a leader back at Iona, and now this chance is very exciting for my future in soccer.


The training camp was grueling and eye-opening, but I definitely learned and improved as it progressed.  Rather than a three-day camp, as I had expected, it became a week-long session concluding with two local games.  In the first, I started and played 70 minutes, scoring one goal and assisting on another in our 5-1 win.  In the second, I was substituted in during the second half, and even managed to score our goal in the 1-1 tie.  When decision time would come, coach planned to select six or seven foreign players of the 19 at camp to join the team.


I have kept myself busy for a little while, training with Liberty Professionals FC, a professional team in the area.  I have also done interviews and had appearances on Asempa FM, a popular radio station, and The Daily Graphic, a popular newspaper.  The African style of play is especially tough and physical, so I need to stay in shape to play my best when given opportunities.  I am still adjusting to this style, but I have faith that everything will keep progressing.


Coach told me even before the official release of rosters that I was selected as one of the foreign players to be on his team.  It feels great that my hard work thus far has paid off.  I cannot wait to keep being a part of a national team.


Pick-up games are common here, especially on Mondays, when professionals come out to play and keep their game sharp.  I got to play with some famous soccer stars from this nation, and it has been a lot of fun.  In particular, it was great to meet Asamoah Gyan, a Ghana star who is a member of Al Ain.  Also, I met two members of the Ghana Black Stars, the senior national team.  Afriyie Acquah plays professionally for Palermo in Italy, and John Boye plays for Rennes.


I cannot believe how much more I have gotten out of this experience than I had expected.  I look forward to being part of the U20 Ghana team and proving that I can keep playing at a high level.

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