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SOCCER AMERICA INTERVIEW: Indiana's Ofori Sarkodie
by Bryan Alvarez, September 18th, 2008 8AM
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SOCCER AMERICA interviews Ofori Sarkodie, one of the top young defenders in American soccer. He captained the USA at the 2005 Under-17 World Cup and played in the 2007 Under-20 World Cup. He trained with three European clubs earlier this year before returning to Indiana University. Sarkodie's older brother, Kwame, just signed with MLS's Colorado Rapids after playing for the USL-2 champion Cleveland City Stars, and younger brother, Kofi, followed Ofori to the U-17 residency program and is now a freshman starter at Akron.

College: Indiana
Class: Junior
Position: Defender
Hometown: Huber Heights, Ohio
High School: Carroll High School (1 year), Bradenton Academy (3 years)
Youth Club: Chicago Magic
Major: Exercise Science

Why your team will win the College Cup?
Our goal is to take it one game at a time. We have young talent and a good energy, a good style. We also have experienced coaching. They won it in 2004.

Biggest area of improvement needed to win College Cup?
We need to start finishing our opportunities in a timely fashion. Finishing early changes the game.

Greatest asset as a player?
My ability to read the game. Having played in two Youth World Cups, I've gotten to play against some great forwards. That's helped my 1-v-1 defending.

Biggest weakness as a player?
Joining the attack. It's something I want to work on. I want to provide more support when going forward.

Best advice you received when you entered college?
Coach [Mike] Freitag told me to stay tuned in and stay focused on every play.

Advice you gave your freshmen about Coach Freitag?
Do everything the right way. Put in the extra work. Don't take anything personal. Be professional in preparation and do your job. That's how you get noticed by the coach and that's how you contribute to the team.

Pregame ritual?
I listen to music and read an inspirational book.

Postgame ritual?
I like to talk to teammates about the game. I like to get feedback and constructive criticism.

Favorite hangout when you're back home?
I like hanging out with my friends. We play tennis, play chess or watch cartoons.

Favorite hangout on campus or in town?
I like hanging at Memorial Union between classes. It's a real chill place.

Fondest memories pf playing high school or youth soccer?
Qualifying for the 2005 U-17 World Cup was real special to me. Playing with the U-20s against Brazil was a big standout for me. Also, playing in the U-17 World Cup. Those are my three favorite moments.

How do you like your soccer-watching on TV or playing video games?
Both! I love playing the latest FIFA video game. I follow MLS closely. The European leagues, too. I'm always talking soccer with my brothers, too.

MLS or abroad-where do you want to play?
That's a difficult question. The goal is always to play at the highest level. I've been lucky enough to train at MLS and Europeans levels. Ultimately, you see where you end up. I wouldn't mind starting off in MLS. It would be a blessing. Ultimately, I would like to go to Europe, though.

18 or 21-what should the drinking age be?
It's fine where it is right now.

Obama or McCain-whom do you support?
I'm voting for Barack.



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