Spotlight Knight - Amirah Ali
By the time Mozart was five, it was evident that he was gifted. Well, the same can be said for junior forward Amirah Ali, star of the Rutgers women’s soccer team.
A powerhouse in cleats rather than musical aptitude, she began playing soccer at 5 years old. Not long after, it was clear to Ali and those around her that she had a real knack for the sport.
“I picked it up really quickly. As soon as I started, I really loved the sport and just wanted to keep going with it,” Ali said.
Over the years, she has reached new heights by winning numerous awards and titles, establishing herself as a definite force to be reckoned with.
Prior to joining the Scarlet Knights, Ali was named National Soccer Coaches Association of America's (NSCAA) National High School Player of the Year, and broke Eastern Regional High School’s scoring record with 36 goals in a single season, which she topped a year later with 96.
She started all 21 matches as a first-year with Rutgers and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Most recently, she was selected to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team and led the Big Ten league in total goals (10) and game-winning goals (5).
Ali's prowess on the field is glaring, yet with many remarkable talents, what most goes unseen is the amount of work and effort it takes to maintain the skill.
“There’s always room for improvement, so I’m always working my hardest to be better every day,” she said. “It doesn’t come easy, so it just takes watching the game and loving the game, having passion for it and working every day.”
Ali’s devotion to the game is undeniably admirable, and it's apparent in her work ethic and passion. But what may be most endearing is the way she speaks of her teammates and coaches. She said the most rewarding part of her soccer experience is the ability to share her success with her team.
“Just being able to get awards as a team,” Ali said. “Achieving goals as a team is the best part. And even when you do win individual goals, like I got Big Ten Freshman of the Year, everyone always had my back. We’re like a family, we work well together.”
The Knights had their opener this past Thursday, defeating Central Connecticut 2-1. Ali started off the season with a bang, scoring both goals for the team and providing the winning goal in overtime. She demonstrated poise and wit throughout the match.
“As a team, we just had to bring it back together, calm ourselves down,” she said. “I just knew I had to keep the pressure on them."
With athletic prowess, a strong work ethic and intelligence, Ali is an inspiration to athletes. She's extraordinary on and off the field, and we can expect much from her this season.
For updates on the Rutgers women's soccer team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.