'Soccer was my way out'- How football helped Get Sharp Soccer founder chart path to success

By Sports Desk October 07, 2020

As a disadvantaged youth who grew up in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Andre Sharpe’s long road to redemption began when he caught the eye of Dan Ensley, then assistant coach of the University of Cincinnati, while playing in the U-21 league with Meadhaven United.

“I was on the bench until about the 70th minute and we were losing 1-0.  I came on and instantly assisted a goal to tie the game up 1-1. A few minutes later, I scored the game-winner. I was approached by coach Dan who offered me a full-ride scholarship on the spot,” Sharpe recalled.

Unfortunately, it’s life-changing opportunities like these that have been put on pause, following the suspension of the National Premier League, on March 12, to slow the spread of the coronavirus.  Like many other athletes, Sharpe's fledgling football career was shaped by the nation’s top-flight football competition.

Unfortunately again for Sharpe, after receiving the scholarship to the University of Cincinnati, it fell through. Forced to make a quick decision, he frantically started emailing his resume to other schools.

It wasn't long before Graceland University, a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) school in Iowa, ended his quest by offering him a partial scholarship without even seeing him play.

“I flew to Graceland University, in the middle of an Amish community, in Lamoni, surrounded by cornfields, with no clue how I was going to pay my tuition balance,” he said.

At the first scheduled practice, coaches were in awe the moment they saw him play and increased the value of his scholarship. Still, it wasn’t enough.

Though admittedly happy for the opportunity, Sharpe wanted to leave for Cincinnati after just one season in Iowa. He knew the University of Cincinnati still had an eye out and so, he worked ungodly shifts and pulled off insane all-nighters to get transferred.

While at the University of Cincinnati, Sharpe wrestled with a long-standing injury, which somewhat curtailed his football career.  But, he successfully completed his degree before going on to open 'Get Sharp Soccer' a well-known football academy in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“I tore my quad as a junior and played very limited games after battling a terrible injury. I did not play my senior year as I continued to battle my injury, but graduated with an undergrad communication degree,” Sharpe said.

Even though injuries may have curtailed a promising career, it was football that continued to provide the avenue for Sharpe to adequately fulfill his ambitions.

 “I began coaching my senior year of college for Cincinnati United Soccer Club, one of the biggest youth clubs in Midwest America, and quickly became a director of coaching where I started doing small group training, which grew into summer camps.”

 

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