The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
Issah Yeboah Agyeman watched the 2010 World Cup with other Seattleites. He couldn’t help but be energized by Ghana’s deep run in the tournament. He took that energy and passion and formed the Seattle Ghana Black Stars. The club currently plays in the InterAmericana League, which itself was founded back in 1991 out of the local Hispanic community.
“It all started during the 2010 World Cup,” explains Issah. “As a huge soccer fan I wasn’t going to miss the World Cup matches for anybody despite my time away from soccer, but I was really disappointed when Ghana and USA were eliminated from the tournament. Before the World Cup I was on retirement for ten years. Back in high school I played four years at Tyee. After graduation I went to Highline Community College (2001). I tried out for their soccer team and I made it, but I was on my own. No parents, no guardians and no support, so I had to find a way to make a living, so I decided to quit soccer for good and become a man of my destiny. Nine years later, I end up with two kids. Although I retired from soccer, the competiveness never went anywhere. I was looking for a way to get back on the field, mainly because I wanted to retire from something else for good that was tearing my life apart in a major way, so I joined a team, got my feet wet for a bit, got back in shape.”
Issah had the support of his family and he dreamed about making another, bigger soccer step. “Thank God my lady was a good soccer player, we were able to train together and compete many times, a lot of credit goes to her.” Then the spark from the Ghana performance in 2010 hit a fuse. “One day I was thinking that, there isn’t any Ghana team in Seattle. I decided to form a Ghanaian team. I started recruiting young players from all different kind of races that were wasting their talents by hanging in the streets or young teenagers from local areas, recreational teams, high school kids, and young adult college students. A month later I had recruited about twenty players, and with the word of mouth more young guys started to join SGBS.”
For Issah, desire, commitment and reliability are important player standards. “I started a three days tryout routine, the tryout was for players to prove their commitment to the team and also skills display. If a player made all three practices, they made the team. Under that notion I tought myself how to coach, read a few books on soccer drills and also I started to implement drills that I learned from my old coaches. Collectively I took ideas from all sources; I attended a few soccer seminars to learn more conditioning drills. Overall the strategy has helped me a lot. In the last two years I have been coaching and playing with the team, and we have also been practicing twice a week for the last two years.”
The Black Stars have been good since they began, but they don’t have a league title yet. “We are currently in the Hispanic league, called InterAmericana. This season is our third season, and possibly the last season in this league. We have lost two back to back playoff games and this season we are determined to accomplish our goal, winning a championship!
SGBS have been slowly making their presence known in Puget Sound soccer. “We have competed in numerous of competitive friendly matches,” notes Issah. “Nothing too big, but we have played some good teams such as the Somalia team, Liberian team, Brazilian, Ethiopia team, a Mexican Team, and we won all of them. We are currently negotiating a friendly match with a USA team called South Sound FC. It will be the Seattle version of Ghana vs. USA, if it happens. We are also gearing up for the Starfire Premier League (SPL) and All Nations Cup this coming spring and summer. We are definitely getting our feet in the door and hoping to make some noise real soon.”
Issah says there are bigger dreams to realize. “The future is bright for the SGBS, as Seattle Ghana Black Stars will soon turn into an academy of building more throw away talents, and hoping to give these kids a better life in sports and education or perhaps better future in life as whole. There are a lot of kids with great talent but who never got a chance to show it. I’m a prime example of it. At times Parents also are too poor to support the children in sports.Once the Academy starts, age limit will range from 10 years to 18 years of age. We are hoping to get a sponsor as well for the team. Overall Seattle Ghana Black Stars is a great team; we are looking forward to competing in all Seattle soccer league programs. We welcome all friendly matches as well. Hope to make changes in young kids and teenagers lives by giving them a chance to show their talents through soccer.”
Seattle Ghana Black Stars are currently in third place in the InterAmericana League with a record of 8 wins, 3 ties, and 1 loss. The club’s next match is today (Sunday, February 26) at 3pm at Franklin High School against Amigos Realty.