The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE student reflects on stint in professional soccer

By Eric Poe/sports editor

Asking most males what their dream job would be would likely invoke two answers: professional beer taster or professional athlete. Adam Mwakikoti, a student on SE Campus, accomplished the latter.

Mwakikoti played with the now-defunct DFW Tornadoes of the USL Premier Development League, the fourth tier of American soccer. While not the highest caliber of competition, he said the experience was rewarding.

“It was incredible,” he said. “It gave me the feeling that I could play with anyone.”

Mwakikoti has played soccer all of his life, often on “real quality teams.” He played for well-known local club teams in high school such as Fort Worth United, the Dallas Texans and the Arlington Strikers. He was also an integral member of the first team in Arlington Bowie High School’s history to make the playoffs.

He said he is proud to have been a member of that Bowie team with so many talented players.

The coach for that team, Kevin Joyner, praised Mwakikoti’s abilities and attitude. 

“He was such a coachable kid,” he said. “He really had a love for the game and was a huge spark for the team.”

His work ethic was what separated Mwakikoti from teammates, Joyner said.

“His biggest thing was his drive,” he said. “He worked harder than anyone else and helped push other players.”

Mwakikoti’s post-high school soccer journey then took him to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2003-04. Mary Hardin-Baylor’s team was coached by David Plunk in those years. Plunk said Mwakikoti was a person with good character and a good team player.

“He went about his business and was an all-around good guy,” Plunk said. “The only thing that limited him was injuries.”

Mwakikoti then moved on to San Jacinto Community College for a year playing with current Major League Soccer standout and Jamaican international Dane Richards. After one season at San Jacinto, he transferred to the University of St. Thomas in Houston for one year. Mwakikoti described the St. Thomas team as possessing “real quality, and they were a lot of fun.”

Two years after college soccer ended for Mwakikoti, a friend approached him about an upcoming tryout for the DFW Tornadoes.

“My friend Johnny found the tryout,” he said. “We had played together in Fort Worth leagues a lot, and I was like, ‘Let’s do it.’”

Mwakikoti said they trained hard for two weeks and never really expected to make it but just wanted to have fun.

“I was apprehensive at first,” he said. “But I gave it all I got, and I made it.”

During the tryout, he had a big afro, “which probably helped,” he said with a laugh.

He described his stint with the team as an interesting experience while also fun. But it wasn’t without its pressures.

“When you make something like sports your bread and that it’s not just for fun, it almost puts pressure on you,” he said.

The pressure came because the money he received for playing was what he was eating on, Mwakikoti said.

The dream of a professional soccer career didn’t last long as Mwakikoti suffered an ankle ligament injury.

“It [the injury] happened a few games in,” he said. “I got tackled, and then I played on it for a few weeks.”

Playing on the hurt ankle made the injury worse, and when he discovered the extent of the damage, Mwakikoti had to sit out for eight months.

“I was real depressed when I was sitting out,” he said. “And it’s not ever gonna heal 100 percent. It’s probably only about 90 percent healed now.”

This story doesn’t end sadly, however. Mwakikoti had quit skateboarding when the opportunity with the Tornadoes came about, but after his professional soccer endeavor ended, he returned to that sport.

“I’ve moved on to skating now,” he said. “Me and my friends have a small board shop, and we sponsor four kids. And I’m still skating as well.”

Mwakikoti said skateboarding appealed to him because it looked thrilling. It was something to do, and things such as spending hours outside trying to learn how to “Ollie” are a “wonderful feeling.”

Regarding his short professional soccer career, Mwakikoti said he has no regrets.

“It felt so good to work so long for something,” he said. “I pride myself on my athletics, and to play pro, it feels good.”

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