Whether he was kicking the soccer ball with his friends in the parks of Niger and Benin, or in the fields and halls of The College of Idaho nearly 7,000 miles away, Moubarak Abdoulaye Soumana’s relationship with the sport has been a familiar slice of home. While the world’s most popular sport is still developing here in the United States, for a majority of international students at The College of Idaho, soccer has been ever present throughout their lives.
Soumana has worked hard to make sure it remains at the forefront by co-founding a soccer club at the College. During his freshman year, Soumana noticed a lack of local options when it came to soccer and, with the help of Yahia Saad Mohamed Fadel, founded The College of Idaho’s Soccer Club three years ago. What started as a handful of students playing soccer to escape the stresses of collegiate life has transformed into a club with nearly 100 members.
“It’s a beautiful thing being able to play the game that reminds you of your roots,” said Soumana, a senior majoring in business administration. “We have people from continents all over the world coming to build community and friendships.”
That’s not to say the club is only for those who have a passion for soccer. Students simply looking to avoid some homework, keep fit, or make new friends, find the soccer club has much to offer. Longtime club member Imad Ahmetspahovic, a senior double-major in political economy and marketing & digital media, said “whether I’ve had personal issues in life, or simply just a tough week at school, the soccer club provides an environment to just get away.”
The club combats the old phrase “it’s just a game,” by providing more than just gameplay and exercise for its members. “This club provides a platform for us to share our experiences and express ourselves,” Soumana said, “all while playing the beautiful game everybody loves.”
While the club has achieved significant growth, organizers are aiming to create a lasting legacy for years to come. “I really hope people continue to play,” Soumana said. “It’s something that is really important to a lot of people on this campus.
Soumana says the club is welcome to all newcomers who are willing to give it a try and let off some steam. “It provides students a chance to come together, play the game, and enjoy themselves,” he said. “The whole purpose is just to have fun.”
The club meets each Wednesday and Saturday with the location determined by the weather. For those interested in joining, reach out via email to the club president Yahia Saad Mohamed Fadel or vice president Moubarak Abdoulaye Soumana for more information.
The College of Idaho has a 132-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including eight Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.
Story written by Morgan Reah, College of Idaho Marketing & Communications student intern