Cecelia Sese is thankful for the Akron Inner City Soccer Club for a number of reasons. Along with practical lessons, like “look up” and “stop the ball before you kick,” she’s also learned the power of teamwork.
“Inner City has been there for me,” she says. “It’s taught me leadership, sportsmanship, playing along with others.” Sese, 16, has been involved with the nonprofit for about 10 years, since she first moved here from Nigeria and couldn’t speak any English.
Through this organization, she was able to meet children from other countries who were in similar situations.
Now she coaches others through Akron Inner City Soccer, attends Akron Early College and is hard at work earning a soccer scholarship at the University of Akron. She’s especially grateful to Dele Olabisi, the founder and president of Akron Inner City Soccer Club. “I look up to him as a dad because he’s always been there for me. He helped me, he supported me; I just really look up to him.”
Playing soccer for most of her life has inspired her to be persistent, another trait that translates well to other aspects of her life. “Don’t give up. When the other team takes your ball, you don’t give up and say they could have it. You just run and get it back.”
Akron Inner City Soccer Club is a year-round youth development and after-school soccer program that offers free soccer camps to area children and hosts an annual Unity Tournament. For info, visit www.inner-citysoccer.org.