Contained in the CFL: Training and keenness for the sport drive Als’ Micah Awe

“Soccer to me is a microcosm of life and also you get a number of life classes from soccer which you can educate folks,” linebacker says.

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Micah Awe, maybe probably the most attention-grabbing participant on the Alouettes, most likely by no means got down to make professional soccer a profession.

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Born in Nigeria and raised in a Dallas suburb, he was relegated to the D workforce — the bottom of low within the football-mad state of Texas — when he started taking part in in seventh grade. He began as a fullback and was shortly promoted two ranges earlier than ultimately discovering his calling at linebacker at Texas Tech, the one faculty that provided him a scholarship.

However that is solely a small a part of Awe’s essence.

Training got here first at dwelling — not stunning, contemplating Awe’s mom has a grasp’s diploma in molecular pathology, whereas his father has his grasp’s in legal justice and is now finding out for his PhD. Considered one of 4 kids, Awe’s sister works in finance, whereas his brothers are finding out chemical engineering and pc science.

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To counsel tv was frowned upon till homework and faculty assignments have been accomplished can be an understatement.

“I can let you know tales about each report card,” Awe informed the Montreal Gazette this week. “I obtained too many Bs and Cs. It was accountability on the finish of the day. I used to be good in class, however I used to be inventive and needed to actually focus and work on it. My dad and mom made (schooling) a critical factor.”

Throughout his 4 seasons at Texas Tech — certainly one of his teammates was Kansas Metropolis quarterback Patrick Mahomes below head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who now guides the Arizona Cardinals — Awe amassed 171 tackles, together with 77 as a senior, when he was named a defensive captain.

However Awe additionally graduated with a level in petroleum engineering — oil and fuel having some significance in Texas — a profession which, if pursued, would pay handsomely and dwarf his CFL wage. Whereas Awe would possibly but turn into the president of Exxon, spending greater than half of every 12 months taking part in soccer has meant placing his diploma to make use of solely as soon as. He lasted lower than 4 months on the College of Illinois, ostensibly attributable to spending 5 hours each day driving to and from work.

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“If I needed to generate income, there’s different issues I might do,” the 28-year-old mentioned. “Soccer to me is a microcosm of life and also you get a number of life classes from soccer which you can educate folks. You learn to undergo getting lower for no motive, or working in 99 diploma climate.

“This is not concerning the cash; it is one thing deeper than that,” Awe added. “I’ve realized these days I need to make an influence on folks. I do know soccer’s not going to offer me the most effective cash proper now, however when you’re writing about me, what number of children will that encourage? It sounds corny, however that is your worth on this world. Any child who hears my story or is undersized…”

It wasn’t simple combining athletics and schooling in school — Awe’s GPA was a modest 2.85 — however he missed just one follow over 4 seasons.

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“I am not a genius, however I understand how to make issues slightly easier,” he defined. “Each play’s easy in soccer and, when you simplify it, you should utilize your athleticism. My athleticism’s via the roof, however linebacker’s such a tough place to make use of it as a result of there’s a number of considering. If you may make it easy, you may’t be stopped.

“Whether or not I turn into a petroleum engineer on the finish of the day or not, it is how I discovered. I discovered learn how to take good notes, learn how to get a number of data and categorize it in my thoughts.”

Awe’s nomadic soccer journey has taken him to Tampa Bay and the New York Jets within the NFL — no video games have been performed — together with three stints at BC and stops in Toronto and Ottawa. He performed one recreation this season with the Lions earlier than requesting his launch in late June, suspecting he was a sufferer ratio who would solely see the sphere sporadically.

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Awe signed with the Als on July 6 — the identical day head coach Khari Jones and defensive co-ordinator Barron Miles have been fired. Having to shortly adapt to new DC Noel Thorpe would hardly disconcert the 6-foot, 216-pound; he had 5 completely different co-ordinators in school.

“He is tremendous good and really bodily,” normal supervisor and interim head coach Danny Maciocia mentioned. “He can run and can run to the ball.”

Firmly entrenched because the Als’ center linebacker, Awe has performed three video games with Montreal, recording 11 defensive tackles and one other on particular groups. He recovered a fumble at Ottawa on July 21, returning it 68 yards.

Whereas soccer stays Awe’s life, no less than for now, he would not need to be outlined completely for that. When COVID-19 canceled the 2020 CFL season, he launched an app, PurpleShift, offering athletes a shot at recruitment. It empowers and connects them, serving to them acquire publicity via the facility of knowledge.

Nonetheless, for so long as he is with the Als, Awe’s decided to make a distinction regardless of this season’s struggles.

“I need to be nice,” he mentioned. “In any other case, why am I taking part in soccer? I believe I am good. I believe I am nice. But when I am not on the market and other people aren’t speaking about me … I am not doing properly sufficient.”

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