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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Osei-Agyemang’s long journey to joining Arizona soccer

Colin+Prenger+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0ACandice+Osei-Agyemang%2C+No.+10%2C+and+the+UA+womens+soccer+team+plays+LMU+on+Sept.+16%2C+2012.
Colin Prenger / Arizona Daily Wildcat Candice Osei-Agyemang, No. 10, and the UA womens soccer team plays LMU on Sept. 16, 2012.

Soccer has been a part of Arizona forward Candice Osei-Agyemang’s life since she could walk. She recalled being at her older sister’s soccer game and kicking the ball on the sidelines with her father.

By the age of three, she started playing on a youth, co-ed soccer team.

Fast forward to her senior year of high school. Osei-Agyemang had committed to play at the University of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, in the first 10 minutes of her high school’s second playoff game, Osei-Agyemang tore her ACL and was unable to continue playing.

“I never had a serious injury,” Osei-Agyemang said. “So to be taken away from something that was part of my life for 15 years was very strange. It made me stronger because the whole time I was saying to myself, ‘I can’t wait to get back on the field and into my normal routine.’”

Osei-Agyemang’s father instilled the love of soccer in her. He grew up in West Africa and loved soccer, even though he only played recreationally. Osei-Agyemang’s older sister took her interest in soccer one step further, playing competitively and landing a spot on the senior national team of Ghana.

During her junior year of high school, Osei-Agyemang was offered the opportunity to play with the FIFA under-17 Ghana national team in the 2008 World Cup in New Zealand.

“I wanted to prove, that even though I’m not from there, that I could still play soccer,” she said.

Osei-Agyemang’s experience overseas has influenced her teammates at the UA as well.

“Her traveling has opened up my eyes to the possibilities of soccer beyond college,” sophomore forward Emily Lai said.

Prior to joining the Ghana national team, Osei-Agyemang had participated in the Olympic Development Program in Washington since she was 14 years old. Ironically, the same year she was invited to join the Ghana national team she also received an invitation to join the national team for ODP.

“Everything was happening at the exact same time,” Osei-Agyemang said. “I just kind of decided let me go do something different, and since I am going to be playing in the states in college that wouldn’t be my last chance. It was also nice to play for Ghana because my dad and family heritage is from there. Plus it put me outside of my box and I was able to meet so many different people.”

The University of Pennsylvania was no longer appealing to Osei-Agyemang, she said. She said she wanted a change in scenery and began looking into transferring.

“I wanted to be closer to home [Seattle] and I knew the Pac-12 had a prominent soccer program like the Ivy League,” she said. “On my visit [to Arizona] I had confidence in the program and saw a lot of potential with such a young group of girls, so I decided to come here.”

The summer before her first season as a Wildcat, the Ghana national team offered her a position in the World Cup in Japan.

According to Osei-Agyemang, Ghana played against the “group of death,” the three power houses in women’s soccer — the United States, Germany and China.

Even though Ghana lost all three of its games, Osei-Agyemang started twice. She played the entire game against Germany and 53 minutes against China. In the first match of the World Cup against the U.S., she came off the bench to play the final 20 minutes.

“Candice didn’t play last year, so her first colliegiate game was against Pepperdine,” head coach Lisa Oyen said. “Coming in and not playing a college game, but then having played in Japan gives her some really good game experience. Playing at the international level really prepared her for the collegiate level.”

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