Rampants reunite on Barton College field
TUE| 11-14-23 | SPORTS
Graphic by Julius Jones
Rose soccer has seen many talented players come and go over the years. Many move past the sport as they graduate, but some choose to take their talents to the next level. Very few have ended up together again, but as Barton soccer takes the field this season, two Rampants will share the pitch.
When Okwasha began soccer at Rose as a senior, he was met with open arms, including those of Rose alum Dawson McAlduff, who was a junior at the time.
“Dawson ... would always invite me out to stuff,” Okwosha said. “Everyone was really welcoming.”
As Okwasha’s time at Rose came to an end, he realized he didn’t want to stop playing the sport he loved. He worked through the recruitment process, and earned a spot at Barton College.
“Only having a year to figure out where I wanted to go to college was a lot,” Okwosha said.
Okwosha attended numerous identification (ID) camps with teammates before deciding to reach out to the coaches at Barton. After a lengthy process, Okwosha announced his commitment to play for the Bulldogs on June 7, 2022.
In his first season with Barton, Okwasha played primarily for the development team as he adjusted to the new level of play.
“It was tough, getting used to playing that type of way,” Okwosha said. “My biggest problem my freshman year was a lack of confidence; I just thought these people were better than me because they’re from Europe and they’d been playing for academies.”
As Okwasha was beginning his career at the next level and adjusting more to the American play style, McAlduff was wrapping up his time playing at the high school level. After lots of decision making, he worked through the recruitment process and found the chance to continue his soccer career through college.
“I originally wasn’t going to play soccer in college, but I went to a few ID camps, had a few offers from other small schools, and I didn’t wanna play there,” McAlduff said. “After a while I had my mind set, I was going to go to ECU or App State, then I figured I’d try one last time.”
McAlduff reached out to the coaches at Barton with some of his game film and stats. After attending one last ID camp with Barton eyes upon him,McAlduff received an offer, which he gladly accepted.
When Okwasha received the news that he would be reunited with his high school teammate, he was ecstatic.
“I called him, I was jumping up and down, I was excited and happy to have him because I know how much he wanted to come here,” Okwosha said.
Just as Okwasha did, McAlduff has spent his first season at Barton so far this season on the development team.
“[This season] started off pretty slow, but we’re doing better now,” McAlduff said.
This season, Okwasha has found himself making appearances for the first team, as well as contributing to the success of the development team.
Despite not seeing the field together as much, Okwasha and McAlduff have found time to bond in practice and outside of practice.
“The camaraderie, the passion, everything is there like the same from high school, it’s just turned up to a thousand now,” McAlduff said.
As the Bulldogs season moves forward, Okwosha and McAlduff have big goals for themselves and their team.
“My biggest goal this season is win the developmental championship, then hopefully make the roster for the first team,” Okwosha said. “Obviously the main goal for the team is to win a ring this year, and I think if we play how I know we can, we can do it.”