Finding Your Team

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By Myia Danek

Editor Katie Williams

Vera Asare is a student athlete from West Africa, playing for the Oakland University Women’s Soccer Team and pursuing a Bachelor of Integrated Studies. Her experience traveling to the states helped shape her into the woman she is today and taught her the value of financial frugality and personal responsibility.

She moved to the United States when she was 16, played for various soccer teams before her commitment to Oakland University and in doing so, learned about communities that differed from where she grew up.

“My first school was Arizona Western College,” she said. “I traveled alone at the age of 16 and moved to Oakland in 2020.”

“One thing about my community is everyone knows everybody,” Asare said. “We share [most] things together, especially with low-income families. Here I have learned how to manage and spend money in a very smart way.”

Asare currently plays for the Oakland University Women’s Soccer team as a center forward. Student athletes are tasked with maintaining certain grade point averages throughout the school year. The schedule is demanding on these individuals, which is something Asare spoke about in an interview.

“Playing for the team and studying is hard,” she said. “The team is really helpful and nice [to] each other and it makes it easier.”

This photograph, taken on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, captures Vera mid-match versus Green Bay. Photo Credit: Vera Asare personal collection.

As an international student navigating through new and uncharted experiences, sophomore Vera Asare had to undergo a series of challenges and growth periods when she moved to the United States.

Vera talks about the generosity and care that her host families and peers showed her and how this affected her initial journey.

“I left my entire family, friends and loved ones when I moved from Ghana to the States,” Asare said. “It was the hardest decision ever.”

“My host family and relatives in Arizona helped support me. It was really good because I was so far from my family in Ghana.”

While the decision to move provided challenges, Asare also experienced many accounts of personal growth and realization as well.

“I have learned a lot about how to figure things out by myself,” she said. “I depended a lot on my family back home to cater for my needs and wants but now I do [it] all by myself and I think above all I have become really responsible.”

Vera is currently beginning her third semester as a Golden Grizzly, playing in the center forward position and studying psychology.

She says the most important part of her pursuit of soccer and academics is the dedication and hard work it takes to succeed. Even in unfamiliar places, there is a community and a support system that makes the difference.

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