As seen on soccer.com
Mkosana Gives Back Through Rush Soccer's Reach Program
POSTED ON JUNE 29, 2018
BY JOE SCHWARTZ
When you’re lucky, you share your gifts with others. When you’re Lucky Mkosana, you give back abundantly through the Rush Equipment Assisting Children (REACH) Program.
Mkosana grew up in Zimbabwe playing soccer with a ball made of plastic scraps and tied sheets. That ball would take him around the world, from a soccer academy in Harare, Zimbabwe, to a showcase with Grassroot Soccer where US coaches scouted and spotted his skills.
Soccer was his ticket, and Dartmouth College became his destination. There he lead from the front, earning Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2008, Ivy League First Team honors in all four seasons and Ivy League Player of the Year in his senior campaign. He also excelled in the classroom, where he earned an MBA and a deep appreciation for different cultures.
Now your No. 77 with Penn FC, Mkosana is on a mission to give kids back home the opportunity to walk the same life-changing path he’s traveled. It all starts, of course, with a ball.
“I don’t know where I’d be without soccer,” he says. “I’ve met a lot of people through it. I managed to see the impact it has not just as a sport, but also the life skills.”
He recently held a gear drive at a home match for REACH Day, where fans brought more than 100 balls, jerseys and gear to send to Cameroon.
Based in Harrisburg, Pa., Penn FC, Rush Soccer's first team, seeks to grow and give back to the game in Africa. That relationship attracted Mkosana to the club. He’s an ambassador for the REACH Program, which proudly has provided more than 100,000 pieces of soccer gear to underserved players worldwide since it began in 2002.
“For me it’s a way of thanking how I grew up,” he says. “I understand the situation going on back home.”
The power of play inspires Mkosana in all he does. He founded the BYS Academy, (Bridging Youth Through Soccer), last year, offering mentorship for underprivileged kids in Zimbabwe and linking them with chances to attend school in the US and play professionally. The mission is simple and powerful — invest in soccer and people, and change lives.
BYS and Rush, which has programs in Zambia, South Africa, Nigeria and Cameroon, have partnered with a vision to create Zimbabwe Rush. Together, they endeavor to improve fields in Zimbabwe and set up a program for American players to visit Zimbabwe for two weeks and compete and cultivate lasting friendships.
Continuing his passion for youth development, Mkosana also works with an academy in Winter Haven, Florida called Sisonke Simunye, meaning “TogetherWeAre1” to bring specialized training to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.
He gives back tirelessly, not just because he’s lucky.
“I also think I’m blessed,” he says.
To view the full article, click here.