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Think Global, Act Local; Meet Local Coach Said Ahmed: An FM Youth Mentor

Asalaam Alaykum

During this holy month of Ramadan, I wanted to visit with someone who embodies the values of giving and service to others. I am always inspired by the stewards of the Red River Valley, but this is even more inspiring when I see the youth taking pride in becoming stewards of the community they call home. It is my utmost honor to have Coach Said Ahmed share his journey with us because he is a stellar young gentleman who truly is the epitome of Servant Leadership.

I asked him to introduce himself:

“I’m truly blessed to have such a big family. Among my 10 siblings, I have 7 brothers and 3 sisters. I’m the seventh kid in my family, and it’s truly a blessing to have such an incredible mother. I’m currently in college and having just finished my first year, I am looking forward to my second. I’m currently a high school soccer coach. I’m trying to help kids achieve their dreams in the process of achieving mine.”

Coach Said Ahmed has an affectionate personality and anyone crossing his path feels uplifted by his positive attitude toward life.

The Fargo-Moorhead area is fortunate to have Coach Said Ahmed call the area his home away from his beautiful Somalia.

If you see him during this month of April, ask him where Iftar is taking place and when Eid is.

Until we meet again,

Stay Warm!

– Cyusa

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photo by Josiah Kopp

Where do you call home?

At the age of 9, I moved to the United States from Somalia, my home country where I was born. Despite not remembering much of Somalia, its culture remains an enduring influence on me Somalia is a lovely country with a united people. Among the many things I love about my country, I admire its food the most. I enjoyed the food there very much and it was amazing. Despite enjoying living there, moving here has been a real game-changer for me. As soon as I moved to the Fargo-Moorhead area, I had to adapt to the new food and culture, and I was successful in doing so.

What is the story of your passion for giving to your community?

The passion I have for giving back to my community is derived from a variety of sources. The young soccer players my brother trained during my childhood fascinated me. This led me to become a soccer coach and mentor kids who were passionate about the sport. In order to give back to my community, I have become more motivated as a result of my brother. It was inspiring to watch him achieve his soccer goals. I was impressed with how hard he worked and never complained. Despite never expecting anything in return, he always loved to give. One of the people I look up to most is Amin. As a result of him, I have been able to accomplish things I had never imagined I would be able to do. It is Amin who inspired me to have a passion for giving back to the communities I live in. The power of someone motivating you to give back is truly remarkable.

What were your experiences like growing up in the Fargo-Moorhead area?

Growing up in the Fargo-Moorhead area was an enjoyable experience. I have lived here for almost 10 years. I learned a myriad of new things and met a lot of new people. I always thought there weren’t many things to do here, but I didn’t realize that if I just explored a little bit more there were a variety of cool and new exciting things to do.

What are some misconceptions about people from the Somali community?

When you hear Somali pirates, you think about 21st-century pirates. The Somali people are generally misunderstood, with most Somalis living both abroad and at home never encountering Somali pirates. Specifically, Somalis are fighting to protect their people and their land, and they face daily hardship. Despite what might seem like exaggerated intentions now, pirates in Somalia began this way: protecting their coastline sovereignty from foreign exploiters.

Can you share some of the activities you wish there were in the FM area?

I think some activities we had in our community would be to open sporting venues for youth to play at night. It will help keep kids occupied and in shape while it will also prevent them from going down the wrong path and looking for other activities to find. That will hinder not only their growth as a person but will hold back our community. I truly view this as an opportunity for our youth to change and grow. It will not only help them improve but also show them they are cared for and not alone.

As a young community leader, what is the next problem you are trying to solve?

Kids not being able to afford soccer gear such as shoes and shin guards. Having to borrow one pair of soccer shoes between three children is not right, especially in the 21st century in America and I want to be able to help them out. It may mean starting a charity or having fundraising events for student-athletes, so they are able to compete at the highest level and not fear being left out because of financial reasons. When it comes to having fun or trying to achieve our goals as a kid, financial reasons should not stand in our way.

Kids deserve to live their childhood plentifully and have big dreams. Many kids feel left out because they don’t have shoes to play with or the proper gear and that’s a dream killer.

What is your vision for 2030 for the Fargo-Moorhead community?

I want more people from my community to be able to pursue their goals and play soccer at the next level. It could mean collegiate or professional, and it will show lots of growth from where we once were of not really having fields to play to having players come out of our area. Putting the Fargo-Moorhead area on the map in the soccer world. That’s something I’m truly looking forward to achieving and it might be a big goal, but nothing is ever impossible in this world.

Written by Alexandre Cyusa

Alexandre Cyusa came to the FM area in the fall of 2010 to attend Concordia College. Originally from Kigali, Rwanda, Cyusa has lived in Switzerland, Ethiopia, Guinea and France. His traveling experiences have helped him in making this world a smaller and simpler place to live in. He currently works for Folkways and is interested in community development and nurturing global citizenship.

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