Scoggins: Maple Grove soccer player 'so happy' to make Italy trip

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 22, 2013 - 8:24 AM

Bashiru Kormah's surrogate family, a U.S. senator and other supporters made sure he could join team in Italy.

Bashiru Kormah awoke before sunrise Friday, still hopeful that he could join his club soccer team on a 10-day trip to Italy this week for training sessions, matches and cultural experiences.

Only days earlier, his hope had begun to fade. Kormah, an Osseo High School junior known to everyone simply as “BK,” had done everything asked of him. He bagged groceries, raked leaves, served up spaghetti dinners and participated in countless other fundraisers since last fall to save the necessary $3,700 travel cost.

But obtaining a passport proved to be a complex, exhausting and, at times, frustrating process for the Liberia native. It stretched over months and finally ended successfully Friday when BK secured a special visa that will allow him to travel with his team on Wednesday.

“Unbelievable,” he said. “I’m so happy.”

The final push came when Chad Thomas, whom BK considers a surrogate father, boarded a 6 a.m. Friday flight to Chicago for a hastily scheduled meeting at the Italian Consulate, arranged by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. For Chad, it was a last-ditch effort to help a young man he met three years ago but now considers his son.

The painstaking efforts made by the Thomas family of Maple Grove, Klobuchar’s office and a network of supporters was not based solely on a soccer tournament.

The focus belongs on a kid who deserved a break and his genuine appreciation for the gifts in his life.

BK’s family fled a civil war in Liberia and spent three years at a refugee camp in Ghana before immigrating to Minnesota. His mother was lost during the civil war, presumed dead. Though his father was naturalized here, he decided to return to Liberia two years ago. He told BK and an adult daughter to stay here and seek a better education.

BK’s background and family history provided layer upon layer of complications in trying to secure a passport. Important personal documents went missing. Communication with his father in Liberia was difficult or sometimes got lost in translation.

The physical distance between BK and his father, who was needed to sign and return paperwork, presented challenges. Chad and his wife, Tanya, logged countless hours dealing with one obstacle after another.

They eventually sought help from Klobuchar, whose office provided guidance and legwork. She called the Italian ambassador on Thursday in an effort to resolve the issue.

“I pled the case and explained how important this is to the community,” Klobuchar said Friday from Washington. “We should embrace efforts like this, a straight-A student, a kid who is willing to go the extra mile to raise the money so he can go on this trip. That’s what our country is all about.”

BK arrived in Minnesota at age 10. He has no recollection of his mother and remembers snippets from his time in the refugee camp. He recalls taking long walks with his father and siblings in search of water that was safe to drink.

“It’s just really difficult,” he said.

He always loved soccer, which became an outlet for making friends and feeling part of the Twin Cities community. A few years ago at the Schwan’s Cup in Blaine, he met a kid named Carson Thomas. The two became close friends and eventual teammates in the MapleBrook club.

Carson’s parents recognized BK’s potential, and not just in soccer. They saw a genuineness in his optimism and his desire to get a good education. But he needed support.

“He’s a kid who once you learn more about him, you want him to get those opportunities,” Chad said.

The family opened its heart and home to him. BK has become their third child, maybe not legally but in every other way imaginable. He’s their “un-adopted son,” Chad jokes.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 2 Top 8th Inning
St. Louis 5
Washington 9 Bottom 7th Inning
Atlanta 8
Miami 4 Top 8th Inning
Boston 3
Minnesota 1 Top 9th Inning
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 3 Top 6th Inning
Philadelphia 0
Baltimore 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 3 Bottom 7th Inning
NY Mets 4
Cincinnati 0 Top 2nd Inning
Chicago Cubs 0
Los Angeles 1 Top 2nd Inning
Milwaukee 0
San Francisco 2 Top 2nd Inning
Texas 0
Chicago WSox 0 Top 2nd Inning
San Diego 0
Kansas City 1 Bottom 1st Inning
Cleveland 4
Seattle 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
Los Angeles 0
Colorado 0 Bottom 1st Inning
LA Angels 1
Oakland 0 Top 2nd Inning
Arizona 0
Pittsburgh 6:05 PM
NY Yankees
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Sacramento 6:00 PM
Orlando
Utah 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Miami 6:00 PM
Washington
Toronto 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Cleveland 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Boston 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Detroit 7:00 PM
Houston
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
Memphis
Phoenix 7:00 PM
Brooklyn
Denver 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Dallas 9:30 PM
Golden State
Columbus 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 6:30 PM
Detroit
Edmonton 7:30 PM
Chicago
Pittsburgh 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Longwood 68 FINAL
Char Southern 60
Ark-Pine Bluff 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 75
Southern Ill 45 FINAL
Wichita State 56
Winthrop 28 2nd Half 17:16
Radford 30
Evansville 2:35 PM
Illinois State
Towson 5:00 PM
Elon
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
High Point
Samford 5:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Ball State
Bowling Green 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Brown 6:00 PM
Dartmouth
Toledo 6:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Akron 6:00 PM
Kent State
Ill-Chicago 6:00 PM
Oakland
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Ohio
Columbia 6:00 PM
Penn
Cornell 6:00 PM
Princeton
Central Mich 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Bradley 6:05 PM
Northern Iowa
Morehead State 6:30 PM
Murray State
UNC-Asheville 7:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Yale 7:00 PM
Harvard
Furman 7:30 PM
Citadel
Coll of Charleston 7:30 PM
Drexel
Texas Tech 8:00 PM
Baylor
Pacific 8:00 PM
San Francisco
Detroit 8:30 PM
Cleveland State
Belmont 8:30 PM
Eastern Ky
Loyola-Chicago 8:35 PM
Indiana State
Loyola Marymount 10:30 PM
Santa Clara
Chicago 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
(21) George Washington 77
Wake Forest 68 FINAL
(16) Duke 77
Furman 55 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 68
Monmouth 61 FINAL
Quinnipiac 82
Michigan State 60 FINAL
(4) Maryland 70
Belmont 65 FINAL
UT Martin 71
Arkansas 36 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 58
Mercer 56 FINAL
East Tenn St 66
Richmond 33 2nd Half 6:03
Fordham 38
Miami-Florida 51 2nd Half 4:35
(2) Notre Dame 63
Siena 38 2nd Half 16:05
Iona 36
Washington St 16 2nd Half
(9) Arizona State 19
Ark-Pine Bluff 37 2nd Half 17:20
Miss Valley St 30
(23) Rutgers 23 1st Half 7:00
(24) Northwestern 13
Tennessee St 19 1st Half 5:48
SIU-Edwardsville 17
Loyola Marymount 22 1st Half 2:35
Gonzaga 27
(18) Texas A&M 0 1st Half 16:45
LSU 10
Cincinnati 3:00 PM
UCF
Saint Josephs 3:30 PM
Dayton
UCLA 4:00 PM
(19) Stanford
Santa Clara 4:30 PM
San Diego
Virginia Tech 5:00 PM
(7) Florida State
SMU 5:00 PM
Memphis
Lehigh 5:05 PM
Holy Cross
Rhode Island 6:00 PM
Duquesne
North Florida 6:00 PM
(20) Fla Gulf Coast
Kennesaw St 6:00 PM
Jacksonville
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
Stetson
Nebraska 6:00 PM
(14) Iowa
Saint Peters 6:00 PM
Marist
Navy 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Lafayette 6:00 PM
American Univ
Colgate 6:00 PM
Army
Georgia 6:00 PM
(5) Tennessee
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
Brown
Penn 6:00 PM
Columbia
(13) Princeton 6:00 PM
Cornell
Kansas 6:00 PM
Kansas State
Harvard 6:00 PM
Yale
(15) North Carolina 7:00 PM
(10) Louisville
San Jose St 7:00 PM
UNLV
Houston 7:00 PM
Tulane
Utah State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Colorado 8:00 PM
(8) Oregon State
New Mexico 8:00 PM
Wyoming
Minnesota 8:25 PM
Ohio State
(12) Kentucky 8:25 PM
(11) Miss State
San Diego State 8:30 PM
Nevada
Niagara 8:30 PM
Fairfield
Texas Tech 8:30 PM
West Virginia
Boise State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Washington 10:30 PM
California

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

Countdown to great deals

Bid March 15-23

    ADVERTISEMENT

    ADVERTISEMENT

    ADVERTISEMENT

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

    ADVERTISEMENT

     
    Close