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The other football
Mohamed Hassan, a lanky 15-year-old who is one of the group’s best and youngest members, grew up watching people play the game in Kenya. But he never heard the term soccer until he came to the U.S. five years ago. He was accustomed to calling it kubada (ball) cagta (foot) in Somali.
“Do you guys play football?” he asked his new American friends when he moved to Minneapolis.
They took him to a game where players tackled each other.
“I’m not talking about this football,” Hassan said. They told him he meant soccer.
A freshman, Hassan earned a spot on the mostly white junior varsity soccer team at Southwest High School.
Many boys skip practices, especially when the temperature drops below zero, but Hassan comes to nearly every one. On other days, he and his brother kick a ball around the hallway of their apartment building.
Adnan Abdirahman, the Roosevelt student whom Ismail pressed to jump harder, moved from Ethiopia in 2011. He sometimes sneaks in practice in the afternoon at Augsburg with a friend, after being told by staff there that it was OK if only a couple of them came before 6.
“Outside is good for us to run around,” said Abdirahman. “Indoor is not that much good for us because we want to kick the ball high.”
Maya Rao • 612-673-4210