Med Fofana grew up around the sport of soccer. A native of Liberia, Fofana naturally took to soccer because practically all Liberians play soccer.
However, Fofana never played organized soccer.
“I just played in my neighborhood,” Fofana said. “I was surrounded by good soccer players.”
Fofana took more of a liking to basketball. By the time Fofana reached sixth grade, he was a basketball player. Soccer wasn’t even a thought.
“I never really played soccer for real,” Fofana said. “My friends would play, so I’d join them. But I was really into basketball.”
When Fofana arrived at Hudson Catholic three years ago, he was intent on solely being a basketball player in the Hawks’ premier program.
In August, Fofana was talked into giving soccer a try.
“I thought that if I played soccer, it would get me in better shape for basketball,” Fofana said.
It didn’t take long for Hudson Catholic head boys’ soccer coach Julio Sosa to realize that Fofana was the real deal.
“I had been trying to get him to play for a couple of years,” Sosa said. “He said that he wanted to concentrate on basketball. But I knew he could play and I knew he was a good athlete. I never saw him play soccer. The first practice, he was out there for about 10 minutes and I said, ‘Wow.’ I knew right away that he was going to help us. I knew he was a good player. He was the type of player I was looking for.”
Fofana didn’t know how well he would fare.
“I had to rely on my teammates,” Fofana said. “I had no idea what I was doing. The coach and players had to tell me what to do.”
There was one thing that Sosa and the other Hawks didn’t have to teach Fofana.
“He had a natural shot, a good shot,” Sosa said. “Anything inside the 18 [yard line], he was going to put it in. The first game, he got that shot and scored a goal. Two defenders came up on him and he just went right past them and scored. He gets in the box and anything is his.”
Fofana has more than just fit in with the Hawks. He’s become the team’s leading scorer, finding the back of the net an astounding 17 times in just 11 games.
“I never thought this was possible,” Fofana said. “I never imagined it.”
Now, Fofana has become such a proficient goal scorer that he’s actually considering playing soccer on the next level.
“To me, he’s a first division player in college,” said Sosa, who believes that Fofana could actually be an NCAA Division I product. “He is an excellent player. He didn’t have a lot of confidence playing soccer, but he’s comfortable now. Too bad he’s a senior, because I’d like to have him a lot longer. He’s really exceeded any expectations we had. He’s not a selfish player and fights for every ball.”
Fofana will continue to play basketball for the Hawks in the winter, but his success on the soccer pitch has him thinking about the future.
“I definitely want to go to college, but I don’t know what I’ll do,” said Fofana, who plays both the point guard and shooting guard for the Hawks. “I do like soccer, so it’s a possibility. Maybe I can get the chance to play both in college.”
At least the possibility is now there for the now two-sport standout…
Get well wishes go out to Hoboken head football coach Lou Taglieri, who is recovering from recent gall bladder surgery. Taglieri hopes to be back on the sidelines very shortly. Veteran dutiful assistant John Peluso is running the Red Wings in Taglieri’s absence.…
The Secaucus girls’ cross country team capped an undefeated regular season Tuesday, defeating Immaculate Conception of Lodi and St. Mary’s of Rutherford, completing a 13-0 regular season, the best in school’s history.
Samantha Neshiewat won the race at Garret Mountain, marking the 11th time this season Neshiewat won the regular NJIC Meadowlands Division race, tying Renee Zengel’s school record for wins in a season and breaking Zengel’s career record of 21 wins. Zengel set the record in 1992…
Congratulations to Rob O’Donnell, the science teacher at Christa McAuliffe School (P.S. 28) in Jersey City, who won the prestigious Milken Award, considered to be the equivalent of winning an Academy Award in teaching.
O’Donnell was one of 40 teachers nationwide to receive the award. It’s a great honor for a dedicated teacher, who 22 years ago, had the misfortune of playing Biddy basketball for a Jersey City Recreation All-Star team that was coached by yours truly.
It’s always rewarding to see someone you knew as a youngster develop into someone great as an adult. This news was celebrated big time in these parts…
The NJSIAA released its first football power point standings last week. In NJSIAA North Jersey Section 1, Group V, Union City is currently fourth and in good position. North Bergen (ninth) and Memorial (11th) will need some help and do some work in the next month.
In North Jersey Section 2, Group II, Lincoln is currently second behind Newark West Side.
In North 2, Group I, Hoboken is currently the top seed and Secaucus is second, so both local schools appear in good shape for the state playoffs.
In Non-Public Group 4, St. Peter’s Prep is in great shape at 5-0, sitting atop the bracket with 73 points, with Paramus Catholic in second. The Marauders have played one more game than the rest of the bracket, but that should not hurt the Marauders’ chances of securing a top seed.
In Non-Public Group 2, Hudson Catholic is in fifth position and in Non-Public Group I, Marist is in fifth place. St. Anthony needs to win a few games to get into contention…
Among the top football performances last weekend, Union City’s Tamaine Boyd tops the list with his 281-yard, four touchdown game against Kearny. J.L. Castellanos of Secaucus had 228 yards and five touchdowns, Xavier Matos of Bayonne had 217 yards and two touchdowns and Jonathan Hilliman of Prep had 196 yards.
Also, James Hernandez of Memorial had 175 yards and three touchdowns, Devell Jones of Lincoln had 139 yards and three scores and Oliver Molano of Weehawken had 127 yards and a touchdown from his quarterback slot.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Memorial QB Bobby Bailey had 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns and 100 yards passing with one touchdown. Darius Wade of Lincoln had 227 yards passing and three touchdowns…
In cross country, McNair Academic standout Brittany Gibson had a great day at the Shore Coaches Invitational last Saturday, finishing third overall at the Varsity Girls F race at Holmdel in a solid 19:57.
Among the boys, Memorial’s Jonathan Matamoros was seventh in the Varsity B race in 16:58, McNair’s Idriss Zahidi was seventh in the Varsity F race in 17:33 and Jimmy Sause of St. Peter’s Prep competed in the Championship event and came home in 17:11…
At the Brett Taylor Invitational at Darlington Park in Mahwah, Memorial won and North Bergen finished second among the boys’ teams in the Varsity A race. Josue Sanchez finished 10th and Nicholas Calixto 11th to lead the Tigers, while Domingo Grullon (fifth) and Matthew Gonzalez (sixth) paced the way for the Bruins…
Hudson Reporter H.S. Football Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (5-0). 2. Union City (3-1). 3. Lincoln (4-0). 4. Secaucus (4-0). 5. Hoboken (3-1).
Hudson Reporter H.S. Soccer Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (11-2-1). 2. Memorial (9-4). 3. Union City (4-5-1). 4. Bayonne (5-6). 5. North Bergen (4-7)…--Jim Hague
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.