Men’s soccer player Amiri Abraham is a team leader—even as a freshman

Georgia State men’s soccer player Amiri Abraham is strictly business.

The Silver Springs, Md. native is not shy, but when it comes to soccer he does not have much more on his mind than winning.

18-year-old freshman Abraham led the Panthers in goals scored with six.

He was also named the College Sports Madness men’s soccer independent player of the week for his two-score performance against the then-no. 9 ranked Furman Paladins on Oct. 23.

It is safe to say that with Abraham’s impact on Georgia State this year, he was a major tool in the Panthers’ toolbox. However, Abraham brushed off the notion and seemed much more interested in the aforementioned idea: winning.

“Yeah, it feels great to play a big role, but for the most part, I don’t really care about all of the press and glory. I’ll just do whatever it takes for my team to win,” Abraham said.

Winning is something Abraham is used to, even in the biggest games.

But Abraham acknowledged that the team got off to a slow start this season going 0-5 in the first five games and losing the first game at home to Liberty.

Abraham said, “We should not have lost to Liberty. I think we just stooped down and played at their level instead of ours.”

He said that after the team got over that hump, they picked it up and went on a roll.

He attended and played for Collins Hill High School in Lawrenceville, Ga., about 35 minutes outside of Atlanta.

As a sophomore at Collins Hill, Abraham scored the game-winning goal against Lassiter High School, the No. 1 team in the nation at the time.

That game was a semi-final in the state playoffs that propelled Abraham and Collins Hill into the state championship in 2010, which Collins Hill won that year for the second time in a row.

Being skilled enough to help lift his high school team to consecutive state championship is not something that came to the freshman overnight.

Abraham has been on a soccer field for a good part of his life.

“I’ve been playing since I was five. My dad was my first coach so he kind of brought me into it,” Abraham said.

He also started on the basketball team as a freshman in high school, but decided to focus on soccer after that season because it is a year-round sport.

Abraham said he realized he wanted to play in college as soon as he quit basketball.

To help Abraham further prepare for college, he played club soccer at the Gwinnett Soccer Association and for the Georgia United Soccer Alliance’s academy team.

Georgia United is an advanced training academy that holds tryouts and has its own club team.

Georgia State head coach Brett Surrency talked about Abraham’s game while he was being recruited last year.

“We were very excited to have committed Amiri last year,” Surrency said. “I had the opportunity to coach him in the Olympic Development program and knew that he would be a talented college player.”

Looking Forward

Georgia State’s victory Friday night over Belmont 2-1 was senior night and the last game of the season.

The men’s soccer team is the only team at Georgia State that is not a part of the Sun Belt Conference.

Being an independent makes it much harder for teams to get a bid for the NCAA tournament, because each conference champion receives an automatic bid.

Unfortunately, the Panthers did not have that chance this year and also did not receive a bid this year to the NCAA tournament, finishing at 9-9-1.

“It sucks we’re not in a conference, so we essentially have to schedule our games to try and get a bid,” Abraham said. “So we play tougher schedules than most people, and we don’t have chance for an automatic bid. “

However, Abraham thinks that the squad will come out guns blazing next year.

He mentioned two recruits, Andrew Thompson and Rashid Alarape, who will be joining the Panthers for the 2014 season.

Abraham played club soccer previously with both athletes at Georgia United.

“I grew up playing with a couple of the kids coming in, so I feel that like that will really help with our chemistry,” Abraham said.

If the chemistry is similar to how it is with returning players like Stephen McGill and Aaron Jones, the Panthers should have a recipe for success next season.

Abraham specifically remembers two goals this season to put the ball in the position for Abraham to score.

For example, McGill lofted a 60-yard pass over the Furman defense to Abraham, who was quietly waiting for the pass. He dribbled around a paladin defender for the score.

Abraham has aspirations to play professionally, but he said it is not a big deal if he doesn’t make it. He’s currently undecided on a major, but said that he’ll most likely go into either business or nutrition if a career in soccer doesn’t pan out.

“That’s my main goal, but if it happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” Abraham said. “As of right now, I’m just focusing on developing and getting myself better.”

Abraham would like to play for the United States national team, but with a subtle laugh he said that he will cross that bridge when he gets there.

“I think if Amiri continues to improve over throughout his college career that an opportunity at the professional level could present itself,” Surrency said.