High Point University freshman Mamadee Nyepon never imagined he would be able to travel from his home in North Carolina to California, at least not on his own.
â€œNot in a million years,â€ said Nyepon. â€œWell, I always thought about going there, but not on my own terms. But the scholarship definitely took me there and Finals Week was great.â€
The North Carolina Fusion alumnus will never forget his experience at The Home Depot Center, where he was able to compete during Development Academy Finals Week thanks to the Development Academy Scholarship Program.
Nyepon, who was named to the 2009-10 South Conference Starting XI, credits the Development Academy Scholarship Program with many of the opportunities he enjoyed, including traveling across the country and playing college soccer.
â€œThe scholarship basically got me here to where I am right now,â€ said Nyepon from the campus of High Point University. â€œThey basically did everything for me. I experienced traveling all over the USA. I would have never done that if it wasnâ€™t for the scholarship so Iâ€™m very thankful for that.â€
U.S. Soccer, in conjunction with NIKE and the U.S. Soccer Foundation,Â has selected 151 participants for the 2011-12 Development Academy Scholarship program. The awards provide need-based aid to full-time players Academy clubs. Nyepon was a member of North Carolina Fusion for four years and part of the Academy scholarship program for three years.
The scholarship program provides season-long financial aid for players, but they must commit to complete logs and journals describing such topics as a playerâ€™s training, sleep and meal schedules.
According the Nyepon, the logs helped him learn time management and also made him aware of how he was taking care of himself as a soccer player, which has translated into his college game. He has played in 15 matches for High Point, scoring three goals. The team sits at a 5-8-2 record.
â€œIn college, to make it you have to manage your time and the log helped me do that,â€ Nyepon said. â€œThe log helped me figure out what to do in my free time, what to eat, what to not eat and what is better for my health when Iâ€™m not playing. When Iâ€™m preparing for a game, it helped me track what to eat and what not to eat, and at what time to eat prior to a game.
â€œIt prepared me in that it was going to be competitive and very challenging. The environment is different. It mentally prepared me for college.
For Nyepon, a Biology major, the next phase of his career includes completing school and, hopefully, playing professional soccer. The possibilities are unique for each player, but for all participants, the scholarship programÂ continues to open doors and light the way for their own career path.