PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Two Hampton University alumni are on a mission to show the world the power of American football.
To do so, they set their sights on training teens in Ghana who hope to play in the United States professionally one day.
Former Hampton University basketball player Mikayla Sayle says she always wanted to work in sports abroad.
She connected with a classmate from Hampton University, former HU football player Kwamina Vandyke, and learned about his mission to teach American football in his home country of Ghana.
“Sports is really a game changer. It’s changed my life. I wouldn’t have the degrees that I have if it wasn’t for sports. I wouldn’t have the connections that I have if it wasn’t for sports and I just feel like the younger generations, they need to know how to navigate,” said Sayle.
Vandyke and San Francisco 49ers player Oren Burks started the New Home Football Academy. Their mission is to show other parts of the world the doors football can open, but it’s not just about teaching football.
“Just to see this Black man that, you know, he looks just like me, he came, he worked out just like me,” she said. “Just seeing where I can go. Like, now he’s launched a campaign for this kid to come to the states and he’s in the states playing football.”
One of the teens at the academy named Desmond was able to secure a football scholarship at a high school in California. Desmond used to post videos on his social media of him playing football and would tag football coaches to get feedback.
Desmond used to bike over two hours just to learn from Vandyke and others at the academy in Ghana. Now, he’s one step closer to living out his dream.
“It was our goal; we got him here,” said Sayle. “We got to make sure he’s good. So we started this campaign just to pay for his sponsors, food, clothing so he can survive while he’s here.”
They started a GoFundMe to help raise money for Desmond while he’s living in the U.S. Still, he’s not the only one at the academy in Ghana with dreams of playing football in the US.
“Desmond can be the starter and we would love to keep a pipeline because they have the talent,” Sayle said.
She also hopes to create internships and opportunities for kids in America to experience sports outside of the country.
Donate to the GoFundMe here.