Written by: Peter Alegi
Primary Source: Football is Coming Home, July 3, 2019
In the pilot episode of “The Umhlaba Podcast” I spoke with Boyzzz Khumalo and Yazeed Matthews about soccer and education in South Africa and the United States.
Both men are from Johannesburg, but grew up in different areas with distinct experiences. Matthews hails from the Westbury neighborhood, a segregated area reserved for “Coloureds” (biracial South Africans) under apartheid. Instead Khumalo is from Soweto, the huge black African township made famous by the student uprising of 1976. (Click here for more information about racial classification under apartheid.)
Khumalo in the late 1990s and Matthews in the 2010s gained the opportunity to study and play soccer in the United States. Both started out playing at small colleges (Matthews at Tyler College in Texas, Khumalo at Lindsey Wilson in Kentucky) before moving up to NCAA Division 1 soccer at Coastal Carolina University.
Today, both men call AFC Ann Arbor their home. Competing in the fourth-tier National Premier Soccer League, Matthews leads the Michigan club’s attack. He nurtures ambitions of moving up the American soccer pyramid and helping his family back home.
As the club’s Technical Director and ex-MLS player whose career was cut brutally short by injury (click here for his story), Khumalo acts as both coach and mentor to Matthews. A co-founder of the Umhlaba Vision Foundation, Khumalo reminds the younger player of the value of a college education should Matthews’ dream of becoming another Didier Drogba fall through.
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