GREENVILLE, S.C. — The Greenville Triumph will start its season on Saturday after about four months of games being postponed. Players say they’ve missed the rush of adrenaline, the fun of competing and the joy of being on the field with their teammates. And for two of those players, the bond they share on the field is even more special because they’re family.
Abdi and Omar Mohamed bonded over soccer when they met for the first time in 2005. Abdi was 8 and Omar was 9. They are cousins but lived in different places growing up. Omar and his family came to Ohio from Egypt in 2005. Abdi had already been living in Columbus with his family at that time after moving there from Kenya.
“After a while we moved into the same neighborhood,” Omar said. “We had a little tennis court but we changed it to a soccer field. So we just kind of kicked around and that’s what I remember. It was our childhood friends. We grew up playing street soccer.”
They were teammates on the same U-10 team and played together for a few years but then took different paths. Omar turned pro in 2016 while Abdi played college ball at Ohio State and Akron. Last year though, they had the opportunity to reunite on the pitch as members of Somalia’s national team.
“Seeing the family how happy they were for us, stepping on the field together and hearing the national anthem was a great moment to share with your cousin,” Omar said.
“I just remember being on the sideline him scoring and being really happy for him,” Abdi said.
Soccer has helped them create so many special memories. Now they’re ready to create more. Omar played for the Triumph in its inaugural season. This year, Abdi decided to join him in Greenville. Off the field, they’re roommates and best friends. Now, after this season being delayed because of COVID-19, finally on Saturday they will take the field together to play the game they love.
“I feel like our families are more excited than us,” Omar said. “So them tuning into the game will be really fun. They all love the game so we’ll get jokes here and there when we mess up but we’ll enjoy it for sure.”
“Obviously it’s a proud moment for our families,” Abdi said. ” It’s theirst time playing together in a really long time on the same club obviously. I just know it’s going to be a happy time for our families, seeing us on the same field wearing the same jersey.
The Triumph’s season opener against Fort Lauderdale CF on Saturday starts at 8 p.m.