Catching up with Mako as he joins Life University
We caught up with Kick4Life Academy student-athlete Mako Makoanyane about his life on and off the pitch in the USA ahead of him beginning a Master’s Degree in Health Sports at Life University in Georgia, where he will also be an assistant coach for the university’s women’s soccer program.
Who exactly is Mako Makoanyane? I am Mako Makoanyane ‘Neko of Thaba-Bosiu Ha Seiso in Lesotho where I was a part of the Kick4Life Academy. I am 26 years old and hold a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Columbia College, a Personal Training Certificate (CPT) from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and a Strength and Conditioning Specialist Certificate (CSCS) from the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA)
How and when did you discover your passion for football? My passion for football started way back as far as I can remember because everyone in my family plays football. However, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the game in an organised setting in 2008 after watching kids my age play in the curtain raising games at Setsoto Stadium for the LCS VS Platinum Stars game. I also wanted to one day play at the Setsoto Stadium, so I joined then F.C. Hunters, and the rest was history.
How did your parents they feel about you playing soccer? Were they supportive? My parents have always been supportive of me in everything I did, they guided me and never stood in my way of doing the things I loved. My mom got me my first pair of cleats and she never even knew which team I played for, she just knew I was playing and I was very happy. Both my parents are my biggest fans and supporters up to today, I talk to my dad first every time when there are decisions to be made whether it’s in my athletic life, academic life, or just life in general, and I always feel at ease after I involve him in my decisions.
Tell us about your academic journey this far. I started my academic journey at Iketsetseng Private School, then I went to Lesotho High School; from there, I got an opportunity to come to the United States to study and play at State Fair Community College, and two years later transferred to Columbia College where I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. I am right now about to move and join Life University in Atlanta, Georgia to start my Master’s Degree in Sports Health Sciences where I will also be an assistant coach for the women’s soccer program.
Why Sports Health Science? After I graduated, I was faced with a decision on which route to take professionally in the biology field, after some time of deep thought and considerations, I realised I was more inclined to health and fitness so that’s what I decided I wanted and will follow.
Why Life University? Meg Goddard was my assistant coach at Columbia College, so after she accepted a position as Head Coach for the Life University Women’s soccer team earlier this year, the position for her assistant coach was open, I applied and I got picked.
Had you ever imagined yourself studying and/or playing overseas? I have always been a dreamer, I still am, and I always dream big!
Before joining Kick4Life, what had you imagined your life would be like? Before joining Kick4Life in an honest truth, it was hard to imagine what my life was going to be like, all I had was a dream but no clear vision.
Which teams have you played for since arriving in the USA? Since arriving here I played my college soccer at State Fair Community College, and Columbia Collage, and played club soccer for Erie Commodores in Erie Pennsylvania, Little Rock Rangers in Little Rock Arkansas, Ballard F.C. in Ballard Seattle, Washington, AFC Columbia in Columbia Missouri, and professionally for Kansas City Comets in Kansas City Missouri.
What position do you like to play? I’ve always been a left-winger and it is my preferred position but I have also played a lot in centre midfield since coming to the USA in 2016.
How / to what extend has Kick4Life Impacted your life? After joining Kick4Life, that’s when I saw the light. I finally developed a sense of hope, purpose, and direction in my life, so I committed. Kick4Life has impacted my life in ways I cannot even describe. In my earliest days at Kick4Life, all I could feel was just a tremendous sense of belonging; the caring and the support for one another at Kick4Life was just overwhelming, right there and then, I knew I was home. Even today, I don’t regard Kick4Life as a team I played for but home, and everyone involved with the organisation as family.
What emotions, feelings or words come to your mind when the word 'Kick4Life' comes up? When I hear Kick4Life, I get a lot of different emotions, and all beautiful emotions. If it wasn’t for Kick4Life I would not be where I am today. No words can explain what Kick4Life has done for me, the life it has set up for me, my peers here in the United State and Canada, and what it continues to do for Lesotho and Basotho. For all of that I shall forever be grateful, and respectful.