Ebbie Kodiattu - one young NRI footballer
We heard about NRI success stories in technology,
academics, medicine , business entrepreneurship etc. But here goes story of a
young man from India who is trying to make a place in the soccer field in USA.
Though soccer is not so popular as a professional game in USA, but the country
stands in position 19 in FIFA world ranking, which is of course not bad
compared to the number of countries who play this game.
is an article from Ebbie Kodiat about himself :
I was born in Kuwait on July 11th 1979. My father was a banker and my mom a
pediatrician, and both were then working in Kuwait.In 1985 we moved
back to India, and I began my schooling career in
Tiruvalla, Kerala. My father was an avid sportsman, who played cricket &
hockey for the Kerala University, and Football and basketball for the Nagpur
University, where he did his B.Sc. My mom is that silent supporter, who is
always with you with refreshments and first aid, and even today comes for all my
games, even if it is to fly there, and comes very near to having an heart attack
every time I have the ball. At 6 years of age, my father would take me on most
mornings (about 5.00 a.m.) to the public stadium nearby, on his scooter, and we
would kick around and do some fitness exercises
(something I disliked) I went on to play for the district team in football
and for the state junior team in badminton.
In 1992, we immigrated to the US I continued playing football in high
school, and was chosen every year for the schools ALL-STAR team. After 4 years
of High School, I joined the Salem State College, here in the Boston area, where
they have a good soccer program. I had a soccer scholarship. At college, I used
to be named "player of the week" on numerous occasions, for the NCAA
(National Collegiate Athletic Association). In my third year I was named
"player of the year" for the whole NCAA conference. This is awarded by
coaches voting for who they think was the best player of the year. Meantime, I
was chosen for the Massachusetts Senior State team, and then for the Regional
team and then to the US "B" team in Portland, Oregon. On coming back,
I was asked to go and practice with the "New England Revolution" team.
They are the professional MLS ( Major League Soccer) team from this area and
have a few world-cup players from various countries. I have practiced
(spring training) with them. Since the Rev's have had a lot of contractual
obligations etc., they wanted me to be with the Boston Bulldogs, which in-a-way
is their second team, from which they pull new players. As such, with the help
of my agent, I am now fully employed with the Boston Bulldogs. We had our spring
training in Ausheland, in Norway and in San Diego in California. The bulldogs
play in the US A-League, which, structurally, is like the 2nd division in the
Because of the time consumed for this, I have taken a temporary break from
college, where I have another year to go before I graduate. I will be taking
courses during off-season. Yes, a lot of people are shocked to see an Indian
playing football as a professional. Right now, I am a starter, as striker,
for the bulldogs , while the Irish International, Steve Grant sits on the bench.
I guess it is quite an acknowledgement. I had a call from my agent yesterday
saying that coach Clavijo of the Revolution told him that he would be calling me
up very soon. Well, waiting for that to happen.Meanwhile, my coach
Steve Nicol, of the bulldogs is a 13 year veteran of the Liverpool team of
England. He was named last year as one of the 100 best footballers of the
century and early 90's was also named as the "footballer of the year"
in Eeurope. One of the encouragements, he gives me is by saying, "Ebbie,
just keep doing the things you do."
To young players in India :
Firstly, stay in school,
.try to accomplish honours there, because that is an "achieving"
exercise. When you study, you may have to read again and again, .it's a numbers
game, but soon one can train the mind to absorb more. When one studies...one
becomes sort-of-scientific, and the game of football
today is also very scientific, iIt is not enough to play well, we have also to
learn to win . Build up stamina, run fast, tracking your speed with a watch. Do
it daily .and check if next week there is a change. Build up your
'physic' because these days the game is very physical and you cannot get
pushed around by other players. Smoking, drinking will distract
I strongly believe that our players don't have to go outside the country to
become better players.We have the resources to develop within, only
if "the environment within" changes.We need to promote
corporate sponsorships with incentives that will bring about the best of
Though born in Kuwait, I am proud Indian Citizen. I hope I will get an
opportunity, sometime, to play for my country India. I believe I still have the
time for that, but that is my goal. The day when we play in the world cup
, I believe is not far away. We need only three things - discipline, no-politics
& an achievement drive. "