On his Way! – Ali Musse

U17 FIFA World Cup

October 2013

Winnipeg - Certain images spring to mind when I say I have a story about an immigrant teenage Somali boy? Gangs, trouble with the law, anger, etc.… the media is littered with stories that support that line of thinking. 

This story however is as far from those negatives as possible.  The story is about a young man who is “On his Way” to fulfilling his goals and dreams… a story that continues to develop and unfold, but began over 10 years ago.

The young man is Ali Musse and he just made the Canadian U17 Men’s soccer 21-man roster for the upcoming FIFA U17 World Cup being held in the United Arab Emirates this October and November. 

When Ali first came to the World Soccer Academy about ten years ago there were hints of things to come.  He was one of a group of very young players that Eduardo Badescu, William Rosales and Costa Ignat recognized had a spark of potential and decided that they should mentor these young players… teach them the beautiful game. 

From the very start soccer for these kids was at minimum a 5-day a week proposition.  It occupied evenings and weekends.  There was little chance for the negatives mentioned earlier to creepU17_World_Cup_Logo.png into their lives.  Instead the game of soccer was introduced and allowed to develop in their young hearts and minds.  It was a magical atmosphere on that small Grant Park soccer field next to the hockey rink.  I fondly remember those hot summer evenings in June, July and August when parents brought their children to the Academy to first learn the basics, then the game. 

To get into the Academy, then as now, you needed two things.  First and foremost you needed to love the game.  If you loved the game then the effort you put into getting better was not a hardship.  Secondly, you needed to have heart.  The simplest way to explain what I mean by heart is if in a game someone takes the ball from you, then you worked as hard as you possibly can to get that ball back.  You do not always get the ball back, but that is not the point.  The point is you tried. Ali, and the other Academy members, exuded those traits.

Flash forward several years and a fifteen-year-old Ali Musse becomes a key player on the newly formed WSA Winnipeg PDL team.  WSA Winnipeg, the World Soccer Academy’s entry into the 65-team premier North American developmental league, provides a platform for the young college and nationally ranked player to continue their development toward the professional ranks. 

In addition to league play, PDL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various exhibitions. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world.

During WSA Winnipeg’s three-year history in the PDL Ali has developed from a talented youth player into a seventeen-year-old team leader.  For the past five seasons more than 150 PDL players have been selected in the MLS Super Draft.

Ali will certainly rank among them when his draft time comes as he continues to mature as a soccer player each year in the PDL.

So, tens of thousands of passes, thousands of shots and drills, and hundreds of games later a dream comes true.  Ali Musse gets his chance to show the world what some of us witnessed many years ago on that small soccer field next to the hockey rink… his love of the game.  When he takes to the pitch during the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup he carries all of us with him.  Savor each second as you take this step on your soccer journey, take nothing for granted and above all get the ball back!

Congratulations and good luck Ali from everyone at the World Soccer Academy and WSA Winnipeg!  We know you will represent yourself, the Academy, your team WSA Winnipeg, the city of Winnipeg and indeed Canada to the best of your abilities.