Christian off to a lifetime changing opportunity
* The Lilongwe football academy’s 3rd development product on US academic scholarship
* Christian follows after Zobran Elias and female starlet Lughano Nyondo
* He goes to Milton Academy in Massachusetts; Zobran is at Taft School; Lughano at Brooks School
* Christian was the youngest at just 8 years old when he was scouted by Ascent Soccer
By Duncan Mlanjira
Following his exceptional talent at Lilongwe’s Ascent Soccer academy, Christian Kakhome has earned a 3-year high school scholarship to study at the prestigious Milton Academy in the USA state of Massachusetts.
The 15-year-old becomes the third player that Ascent Soccer has sent on academic scholarships to the US after Zobran Elias — who is at Taft School in Connecticut and Lughano Nyondo at Brooks School in Massachusetts.
Christian and Zobran are under the Davis Scholar, which is awarded to exceptional international students by a select group of boarding schools in the US.
Ascent Soccer Founder, George Maguire said Milton Academy is a school frequently ranked in the top 10 private schools in the US and the scholarship has a comprehensive financial aid package, worth around K120 million.
“In addition to this The Davis Scholarship supports with travel, academic resources and most importantly, a sizeable K80 million commitment spread over four years towards university fees,” said Maguire, who is also Ascent Soccer’s Director of Soccer and Programs.
“Christian was just 8 years old when he was scouted by Ascent Soccer, joining as the youngest player at the football academy (then called Chigoli Academy) when it was being formed.
“After 7 years of effort developing as a player, person and a student, Christian has emerged as one of the leading Under-15 talents in Malawian football that attracted the interest of a number of top boarding school soccer programs on the East Coast of the USA.
“Christian’s journey from youngest player in the academy to global scholar, using his footballing abilities to leverage a truly world-class education and future has been a joy to share.
“Highly athletic, good with both feet and with an eye for the goal, Christian has an exciting future in the game and he is academically bright, athletically agile and with strong character — which makes him an ideal candidate for this athletic scholarship in the US.”
Maguire was honoured with Malawi Sport’s 2019 Non-Citizen of the Year award for running a well structured program to develop players that focuses on empowerment through football, education and character development.
He said they were very delighted for Christian for this life changing opportunity and was joined by the player’s father, Limbani Kakhome, who has always supported his son’s dreams as a footballer while at the same encouraging him to concentrate on his academic pursuits.
“The parents’ support is a key element to the young ones to pursue their passions,” he said. “We are both very excited and pray he continues to be an inspiration for many upcoming students and athletes.”
In 2019, Ascent Soccer facilitated the move of its starlet Lughano Nyondo to study at Indian Mountain School where she excelled by finishing top scorer for the school and being voted Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the season.
After such a highly successful first year in the USA, Lughano was offered a 4-year scholarship worth $65,000 (K48 million) a year to study at Brooks School, Boston.
Lughano joined Ascent Soccer in 2018 as a 12-year-old as part of the annual nationwide scouting program and has gone from strength to strength through opportunities created by the academy’s structures.
She was part of the in-production ‘This Girl Wears Cleats’ documentary on gifted female players from all over the world, leading to her attending the Women’s World Cup final in Lyon, France, in 2018.
Zobran Elias was the first player to earn a scholarship to one of America’s best academic and soccer institutions, the Taft School of Connecticut.
Since 2015 Ascent has assessed 30,000 youth players and selected an Academy of 65, who are built around three male squads and one female squad.
Ascent provides private education, advanced soccer coaching, character development and nutritional/medical support for its players and continues to provide a flow of players for Malawi’s junior national teams.
It has produced 10 youth internationals since 2018 for both male and female national teams at Under-17 and 20 teams.
Coached by former Civo and Silver Strikers mentor, Thom Mkorongo Ascent Soccer became the first-ever academy to win both the 2019 Under-17 Presidential League and First Financial Bank (FCB) Under- 20 league titles in the same season.
Located between Mtandire and Old Airport in Lilongwe, Ascent Soccer has a 3 grass pitch facility, a gym, tactics and video analysis rooms and a academic support classroom.