The 2016-17 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Boys Soccer Teams were selected based on performance, level of competition and strength of schedule.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Mike McLaughlin, St. Ignatius (Cleveland)
Name: Haji Abdikadir
School: Louisville (Ky.) Collegiate
Haji Abdikadir has not seen his parents in eight years. A refugee from Kenya, Abdikadir lives in Louisville with his uncle and aunt and extended family. He takes public transportation to school every day — 45 minutes each way to and from Louisville Collegiate. His uncle, a truck driver who is often on the road, has never seen Abdikadir play soccer.
And that’s a shame. Because Haji Abdikadir, the American Family Insurance ALL-USA Player of the Year, is extraordinary at soccer.
“Haji is (great) not only because of his exceptional skill but because of his presence,” Newport (Ky.) Central Catholic High coach Jeff Martin said. “He was the team leader and raised the game of all of his teammates. He was the engine that made them go.”
The only thing that could stop that engine was an injury. And after he tallied 40 goals and 12 assists during 18 dominant regular-season games, Abdikadir’s kneecap slipped out of place before the start of the postseason. Abdikadir missed three games before returning at far less than 100 percent. He didn’t record a point in the postseason as the Titans (24-2-1) reached the state quarterfinals.
When he was healthy, however, the 5-foot-10, 150-pound forward was unstoppable. He scored at least once in 17 of 18 games during the regular season with 15 multi-goal games. The only games with one goal were both 10-0 routs.
“Haji is a game-changing type of player whom other coaches feared tremendously,” Louisville Collegiate coach Chad Wozniak said.
Abdikadir’s skills required so much attention that it opened up acres of room for his teammates. And the Titans took advantage, scoring a state-record 162 goals.
“Their precision-like play and one-touches were a level of play we had not seen all season,” Martin said.
Abdikadir is the No. 36-rated recruit in the Class of 2018 by TopDrawerSoccer.com. He has verbally committed to attend the University of Louisville and plans on graduating from Collegiate in December so he can start playing with the Cardinals next spring.
Abdikadir became a naturalized citizen last year—impressive for someone who wasn’t fluent in English when he came to the United States.
Abdikadir is certainly fluent in soccer.
“Haji put pressure on all of my players to the point where he was an obvious mismatch,” Martin said. “He suffocates you for 80 minutes, and it’s not a matter of if but when he will score.”