By Adolfo Blanco Jr
On September 15, 2022, the ASU Stars played their first match for the soccer intramural games for the year. Following six competitive matches. The ASU Stars made history for the African Student Union by winning its first intramural soccer competition victory, with leadership provided by both captain Tolulope Agbaje, a second-year graduate student, and Coach George Anaman, Coach of ASU Stars since 2019. Their record being; five wins, one loss, the team being in existence at KSU for a while, it was under the leadership of Coach George that ASU Stars had a mixture of different people from all backgrounds that eventually came together to win their first intramural championship on October 12, 2022.
Starting in 2019, the team was mainly geared towards African American students, however, Coach George took it upon himself to both train and lead the ASU stars by broadening the scoop by allowing in non-African students regardless of athletic ability or skill level. There were many challenges faced with the team in the beginning, including discipline and intolerance. Coach George said, “It is not easy bringing players from diverse backgrounds together to work as a team.” However, wanting to go beyond his predecessors, Coach George decided to build the team from the ground up. Producing a system of rules and regulations to bind the team together, Coach George successfully connected his team to form a committed and formable brand of loyal players. A striking difference from previous squads.
“I saw a massive improvement in the loyalty level of the players, and they are committed and have enthusiasm to win the competition.”
Before the championship game, the ASU Stars were both excited and anxious, coming off of a win in the semi-finals. Captain Tolulope said, “It was a good game, we trained so hard for this, and it was a close but fair game.” Leading up to the finale, students from the African Student Union gathered around the field, as the two teams played a competitive match that came down to the wire. As the ASU stars scored a goal to make it 1-0 everyone let out cheers as it appeared they could actually win the championship. Finally, as the timer ran out all the students and athletes from the ASU stars sprinted out onto the field to celebrate the first intramural championship in history.
Coach George said that his objective for this team was “to win its first intramural soccer championship before graduating with his PHD next year.” And, in a shocking twist following winning the match, Coach George announced his retirement from coaching “I wanted to set the bar high for whoever takes over, and by winning, we have achieved that bar." Shortly after this Coach George gave his title over to Team Captain Tolulope. George concluded his final statements as head coach by saying “I was being observant and critical of who will take over my position as next captain. I narrowed it down and the current captain and now coach was the best person for the position. He was able to understand the dynamics of the team.”
The ASU Stars may have won the intramural championship but they prided themselves most for bringing a diverse team together despite the differences in race, social, and economic backgrounds. They were able to come together as a unit, as a team. Coach George thanked the University for the platform to highlight his players talents in the intramural playoffs. However, he urges the University to promote the competition. “To advocate some funding for the competition. To entice and encourage participation.”
Coach George congratulated his players, wishing the absolute best for their futures, saying that the next coach and outgoing team captain will do a fantastic job on continuing to lead the ASU Stars to glory for years to come.