By MIKI JENNINGS
Pima Community College sophomore Yahya Kane came to Tucson from the African nation of Mauritania in 2009. He started taking classes at PCC, and later joined the college’s soccer squad.
“I started in 2010, because when I came I didn’t know that they had a soccer team,” he said.
Now the liberal arts major plays forward for the Aztecs.
Every year, Kane fasts during the month of Ramadan.
The holy observance is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and is believed to be when the Quran was revealed to the world. Muslims observe this annual period by fasting from sunrise to sunset.
This year, Ramadan fell between July 20 and Aug. 20. Kane was fortunate that his training schedule didn’t coincide with the times he was fasting, since the lack of calories during such a physically demanding stretch could be difficult for any athlete.
“I did play some games during Ramadan,” he said. “Those games were away. My religion allows me to break my fast while traveling.”
Recently, a serious injury to Kane’s left anterior cruciate ligament put a damper on his ability to play.
“I tore my ACL last year in the opening game, and I had surgery on my left knee,” Kane said. “So I’ve been out for a year now.”
He has stuck around to cheer on his teammates, though it has been difficult to stay off the field.
“It was definitely hard to sit on the sidelines watching people playing soccer … but you have to sit there and try to get better so you can get back.”
Now he’s recovered and back in the game.
Kane is not quite sure what he wants to do after Pima. “For now, I’m just looking forward to getting my associate degree,” he said.
In the meantime, he’ll play the game he loves and work toward getting a good athletic scholarship.
“It really depends on where I get scholarship offers from as to where I go,” he said.
Kane is very thankful to his family and friends for all they mean to him.
“They’re really supporting me in everything I do,” he said.
Kane says he is especially grateful for having his two older brothers in his life. They first came to Tucson, and told him about the city while he was back home in Mauritania.
On the field, trainer Ben Carbajal and head coach Dave Cosgrove have also stood behind him and been a big help.
“I’m really thankful for that,” he said.