Ties: A profile of the Yusuf Family
In 1993, the Yusufs came to the United States from Nigeria. The head of the house growing up was their mother, Iyabo. Tope Yusuf, the lone daughter, is now an attorney. The three brothers, which includes oldest brother Mohammed, all played soccer in college. Today, Mohammed works in Long Island while Ibrahim works in Manhattan. Although their lives have taken them to different parts of the state, the Yusufs remain as close as ever.
We are a very close-knit family, especially my three other siblings, Yusuf Yusuf said. I talk to them at least four times a week to be honest and we just rotate sending e-mails, text messages and being on the phone. All of us are at different points of our life, so it is good for us to keep in contact.
I believe that our being as close as we are is what has lead to the continuous success of each one of us, Ibrahim said. That starts with our mother, who provided us with an environment that is conducive to nothing but success. This environment includes hard work and constant communication and encouragement from each member of the family. I am very grateful for the relationships I have with each one of them.
Even when they are not talking directly with Iyabo, the Yusuf siblings can still feel the impact their mother has had on their lives.
Her presence is always there, Yusuf Yusuf said. I may talk to my siblings more but whatever they are telling me is a direct message from my mother and whenever I do talk to her, she almost always knows what is going on in my life, even if we havent talked in two or three days.
The Yusufs agree that soccer has always been a part of their lives. It was when Mohammed played in high school, however, that the wheels were set in motion for greater things.
Soccer is something I feel like we always had but Mohammed definitely brought it up to the main stage, Yusuf Yusuf said. I can remember watching a video of Mohammed scoring a goal and (Ibrahim) was jumping behind the goal like a little kid with the most excitement in the world. The rest is history from there.
Mohammed graduated from Central Connecticut State in 2001. Ibrahim started off at Canisius College in 2004 but two years later, he transferred to Binghamton. It is a decision he has never regretted.
It is always hard to fit into somewhere new but when I joined the team, I immediately forged great relationships with these guys, Ibrahim said. Even though I was only there for two years, those guys are like family.
Ibrahim was a second-team all-conference forward for the Bearcats in 2006, the year they won their second America East title. In the classroom, he was on the America East Academic Honor Roll.
Today, Ibrahim works as a CPA in Manhattan. Much of what he learned at Binghamton has transferred to his life in the workplace.
I think that I learned many important life lessons from the Binghamton coaches, he said. At work I am known as the hard worker because I have a tenacious work ethic. I attribute that to the academic and athletic atmosphere and environment which the Binghamton coaches created. To them, it was never acceptable to fail (an exam), or lose (a game) because we didnt work hard enough.
Even though Ibrahim came to Binghamton, Yusuf Yusuf was encouraged by his family to make his own choice about where to go to college. For the youngest sibling, however, the choice was an easy one.
I definitely made my own decision to come here, Yusuf said. One thing people dont realize is how great the political science department is here on campus. Besides soccer, I was also looking at the academic side and I knew that this was a great institution.
In the classroom, Yusuf has made his mark. Last spring, he was inducted into the National College Athlete Honors Society. On the playing field, however, he was injured for most of his first two years. During that time, it was the support of his family that proved invaluable to him.
All of my siblings have supported me a lot the last two years, he said. It has been hard but each of them has given me a different piece (of advice) to take from their life experiences. I wasnt sure if I would be able to play in the spring but they kept telling me to keep going and my day would come.
Yusuf, meanwhile, has been just as much of a support to the rest of his siblings. That has been especially true with Ibrahim.
As I drive Yusuf to continue to succeed in the classroom and on the field, he drives me to succeed in the workplace, Ibrahim said. When things go sour at work, I know that I can call Yusuf and he will cheer me up.
Yusuf has returned to playing condition this season. In the game against Gonzaga on Sept. 18, he scored his first goal since 2007. Even though he still has another year left with the Binghamton program, Yusuf can see how being a part of the mens soccer program has helped him as both a player and a person.
Whether it is taking an exam, training with the team, going to class or playing in a game, I have learned how to make the most of every opportunity since I have become a Binghamton student-athlete, he said. I want to leave my mark in everything I do.
One person not ready to say good bye to the Yusuf family at Binghamton is head coach Paul Marco. He has coached two of the brothers and has seen first-hand just how special their family is.
They are a very committed
family-oriented group of people, he said. They are
great to be around and are very intelligent and success-oriented.
I see great success ahead for both Ibrahim and Yusuf.
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