Coming to America

  • By Alyssa Casalino
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  • October 31, 2012 03:00 PM
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Men’s soccer forward Majed Osman has embraced the opportunity to leave London for West Virginia University.

Being a college student is a great opportunity for anyone. No matter where you go, you can generally find a common ground between college students, whether it’s a major or a sport. It’s an exciting time in a person’s life and can open the door to many opportunities that may not have been presented otherwise.

Mountaineer soccer forward Majed Osman decided that leaving London and coming to school in the United States would give him the best of both worlds, and according to the freshman, that would be academics and athletics.

“I had always wanted to come attend college in America,” Osman said. “I figured if I got a scholarship, it’d be even more of an incentive to go, either for academics or soccer. In London, I would have really had to focus on my academics and kind of leave soccer behind because it isn’t too big in college. Coming here, I could pursue both.”

Osman started playing soccer when he was about four years old and began playing on a club team at the age of 10. He played other sports in school, but took an early liking to soccer and chose to play it the most seriously. His mother enjoyed watching soccer and Osman believes that’s one of the reasons he started playing.

“My mom is more into watching soccer than I am,” Osman added. “Her whole side of the family is Manchester United fans. I was born into that so I’ve always supported them and I still do.”

Before coming to WVU, Osman attended the International School of London while playing soccer for Brentford FCCST. He was the vice-captain while competing in the International School’s Sports Association (ISSA) from 2009-2012. In 2011-2012, he scored 15 goals and had 10 assists in the ISSA.

Osman helped his team win a cup and looks back on that with pride. Another big accomplishment for him was getting the opportunity to play in France, which was an experience he really enjoyed.

The freshman said that playing at WVU is quite different from playing in London and that the level of competition is altered in America.

“My league back home was only about 350 kids. I played with them from kindergarten through high school and I got used to being in that small environment. I went from that to West Virginia University, which is a huge school and I had to get used to that. It wasn’t too hard; it was just different.”

Osman certainly has faced many changes in moving to a different country, but he said that the hardest one is being so far from his family. However, he believes he is dealing with it well and that being a part of the men’s soccer team has really allowed him to grow comfortable here.

“I was happy to come here and I didn’t really hesitate to come, but towards the end it started becoming more realistic (that I was leaving). I didn’t plan on changing my mind, it was just at that time when I realized I was actually leaving London to live somewhere else.

“Being away from my family has still been the biggest adjustment. The first couple months I’ve been here have just been so busy, though, and playing soccer and keeping my mind focused helped.”

The forward is a 17-hour flight from home, but is thankful to have some family in Philadelphia. He said that he thought he would be a lot more homesick, but that he’s enjoyed being here and playing on coach Marlon LeBlanc’s team. Osman said that he’s focused so much attention on school and on learning from his coach that it’s kept his mind occupied from the homesick blues.

“I like his tactics,” Osman said of LeBlanc. “He’s definitely here to improve us as players. I know I’ve improved in the short time that I’ve been here. I have more of a feel of what to do tactically and it feels good.”

Osman has not only improved, but adjusted to the WVU way of playing soccer. He’s been a great addition to the team. People have been impressed with his talents, and he said that his biggest day at WVU involved scoring his first goal against Iona.

“I was really hoping to score in that game and the fact that I did and it was an important goal, like the game-winning goal, it made it that much nicer.”

When he’s not on the soccer field, Osman is hard at work studying. He recently changed his major from business to finance and picked up a minor in economics. His dad is a banker and Osman said he would be interested in going down that road, maybe the route of investment banking.

Even when he’s hard at work studying, he always has soccer in the back of his mind.

“If I have the opportunity to continue playing soccer after college, I definitely will. If I could play here in America, I wouldn’t pass up that opportunity, but my dream has always been to play for Italy or Spain. Playing college soccer in America has already been so helpful.”

The WVU men’s soccer team is scheduled to play its final regular season match at Bowling Green on November 3 at 7 p.m.