STEM and Soccer, An African Perspective

posted in: Blog | 0

Rabikou Ouro-Djobo, Chief of Nerdy Operations

June 16, 2014

OK, aside from the physics of a ball flying toward the goal and statistics about players, what does association football, aka, in the United States, soccer, and STEM in Africa have to do with each other?

Soccer is, by far, the most popular sport in most African countries, and an enormous souce of pride and joy for many, many Africans. Each World Cup, Africa sends better and better teams to the competition and this is one symbol of the fantastic transformation happening in Africa today. The World Cup is also a showcase, followed by more than a billion people, where people around the world learn about African countries and witness the skill, exuberance, and high aspirations of African people. Africa is advancing in all areas and STEM education and the opportunity to pursue careers in STEM is an important area where we are seeing the same rising skills, exuberance and high aspirations.

So, at iNERDE, we’re both passionate about STEM and soccer fans, proud of the accomplishments of the African teams.

I am a multinational person. I was born and raised in Ghana and spent my adolescence in Togo until I recently moved to USA when I won the American lottery visa in 2005.

For two consecutive world cups, Ghana and USA have crossed paths, and for the third time this Monday they cross paths AGAIN… Each of the last two times Ghana has prevailed, with Ghana, a soccer powerhouse, reaching the quarter-finals in 2010. My love for both countries is very strong, and I always face a dilemma deciding which country to root for.

Should I support Ghana, where I was born? or should I root for the USA, a country that has given me the opportunity to become who I am, and what I want to be in years to come and whose coach Jürgen Klinsmann was my idol growing up?

Ghana is, again, a strong and confident team, no doubt about it. The USA has great potential and may go far, if not in this tournament, certainly in the years to come. To this I say, may the best team win.

My prediction? OK, under great duress, and with immense love and respect for both teams and both countries, USA over Ghana, 2-1.