10 Questions With MVSU Soccer Star Student Athlete Laadi Issaka

(Photo Credit: MVSU Athletics)

Check out my questions with one of the top goal scorers (second at the time of this article being published with 12) in the nation, Mississippi Valley State University forward, Laadi Issaka. She is an upperclassman at MVSU hoping to lead them to the SWAC tournament. The Devilettes finish their season with six games at home as they look to make their conference tournament with Issaka leading their offense. She has averaged one goal a game so far for MVSU, an average placing her in a tie for third in the nation. Issaka is a Health, Physical Education and Recreation Major who is quite involved in the community and beyond, and is a superb student with a 4.0 GPA. Below are some questions with her answers on her whole experience at MVSU, her background in soccer, and more.

What lead you to choose Valley?

“I got to know about Valley from my friends/former teammates (Ernestina Abambila and Prita Gyasi). They told me a lot about the school and how they are willing to offer me a full scholarship to study and play. And it was always my dream to still do what I love and further my studies, so I accepted it and started the process because I was just some steps away from making my dream come to reality. Valley is more than just a school, it is a place you can call home.”

What has led to your continued offensive success during your time with the Delta Devils?

“I was always told by my mom that when I was a child and anytime I try doing something, I always put every effort that will help me become successful and I will never stop until I reach my goal. I think this still applies to me till now. I’m always determined and ready to work hard to get the end product which is a success and because I am very competitive, I like to win and always want to come out successful in everything I do. I am also passionate about everything that I love to do. And most of all the support I had ever since I came to the Valley. I also don’t let my adversity to distract me but rather I use it as an opportunity to excel.”

What inspired you to choose your major?

“Growing up I took part in a lot of sporting activities and it made me fell in love with it and by so doing, I told myself why don’t you study something that pattern sports then I decided to choose my major. My coach (Malik) back home also saw that I had the love for sports and the love for helping people so he encouraged me to follow that path.”

What has been your favorite class in Valley?

“I don’t actually have one particular favorite class. All the classes I took or I’m taking all seem interesting to me and I can’t actually choose one.“

What do you attribute your on-field success to?

“First of all, I will attribute my success to God for giving me this wonderful talent, however, as the saying goes “God helps those who help themselves” I wouldn’t say is only God but also the hard work and perseverance that I put in. Also, the power of the people around me has been a very big help too. When I talk about the” power of people” I mean, the people that are involved in my life every day and are very supportive. Again, I am self-motivated and I never cease learning from my teammates/people. Furthermore, my family, teammates, professors, friends, and coaches are all attributed to my on-field success. These people keep pushing me to do better and better every day and always tell me to accept both negative and positive criticism.“

What are your individual and team goals for the rest of the season?

“As an individual player in my team is always my goal to be better than yesterday, set examples, always be there to help my team when needed and also to always leave a place better than it was. And as a team, our goal is to be very successful at the end of the season but our ultimate goal is to win our conference championship however this doesn’t come easy, it needs a lot of hard work and I believe my team is ready to take that challenge. “

What is your dream job with your degree?

“My dream job is to be a coach/ and a teacher. I have always had the desire to help people especially in sports and I think choosing this path is the perfect fit for me.”

How has your game developed since coming to the Valley?

“My game has really improved a lot ever since I came to the Valley and most of my teammates and friends back home can testify to that. This is because finding the back of the net used to be a big problem for me but now I think that doesn’t seem to be a problem for me following the success I have had, that is becoming the top scorer in the nation  [at the Division One level] in 2016. Also, my level of competitiveness has improved drastically in the sense that, our conference seems to be the most competitive and aggressive and I have gotten the opportunity to play with big schools from other conferences.“

What is the biggest thing about life you have learned playing soccer?

“Playing soccer has taught me many important life lessons that I carry and use every day. This life lesson that I have learnt in soccer will never be forgotten or depart from me. They have made me a better person and shaped me into the person I am today and will be in the future. I am still learning new things every day from soccer and my team. However, playing soccer, in my opinion, consistently make you a better person. Furthermore, and that no matter how good and talented you are, you definitely need one or two people to help you achieve most of the things in life or to be successful i.e being a team player.  It has taught me to be confident, optimistic(giving up is not an option) most of all dedicated and committed. One thing it taught me and I learned again is to keep fighting for it no matter how tough the road might seem and never quit on a lost or failure but rather learn from it. Lastly let me not forget about these two important factors,  which is hard work and time management! These two plays a vital role in my success so far.”

What inspired the “Back to School” theme that helped you win the 2018 Career Development Award?

“It has always been my dream and passion to help the community especially young kids, who are still growing. So, the Back to School Bash was the perfect tool to use in reaching out to the community. Also, I get to tell my story to encourage and serve as a role model to them and that anytime they think of quitting, they should know someone was once in their situation but made it through. The road may seem rough today but the end result will wipe all the bitterness away.“

 

MVSU Football: A Chat With Starting QB Chris Fowler

(Photo Credit: MVSU Athletics)

Mississippi Valley State University Delta Devils’ sophomore quarterback Chris Fowler Jr. is coming off an opener against North Dakota where he was the main conductor for the quick-strike offense of the Delta Devils. This team runs a system that relies on his ability to make quick reads and adjust to the defense on the fly.He finished with 263 yards and a touchdown pass last week. The system that Fowler plays in encourages quick passes to his talented group of wide receivers lead by seniors Quinn McElfresh and Booker Chambers, as well as junior Demarcus Frazier.

The Delta Devils take on Jacksonville State tomorrow night on the road at 6:00 PM on ESPN Plus.

Recently, I had a chance to talk with Fowler about some of his off-field experiences, why he choose MVSU, a bit more about what he hopes to improve on in his sophomore season, and how his game has developed so far.

What are your off the field goals for your sophomore season?

“One of the things I take pride in, is my effort in the classroom. So I would like to be an Academic All American for the second year in a row and maintain a 4.0 GPA like I did last year.”

What are some fun off the field things you and your teammates like to do when not practicing?

“My teammates and I like to compete, so that competitive nature follows us off the field as well. Whether it’s a Madden tournament, bowling, racing, or ping pong in the locker room, we all have fun striving to be the best at whatever it is we are doing at that moment. The funnier moments come in the locker room when you have guys rapping/singing and dancing to their favorite artists while the others are cracking jokes. “
What inspired you to choose your major?
 “A variety of things. Let me start by saying I didn’t just come to college to play football. I wanted to push myself the same way I do in the weight room and on the field, in the classroom as well. With that being said, I wanted something that would challenge me but also give me something to fall back on if the game of football didn’t work out. I used to always wonder how criminals would serve a sentence where “the time didn’t fit the crime” based off some loophole in the system. It just so happens my mother is a paralegal so we had a lot of books about the laws and particular cases in the house growing up so I knew Criminal Justice would always be a major that had a special place in my heart.”
Why did you come to MVSU?
 “I felt wanted. Coach Anderson did a GREAT job recruiting me and they stuck with me through thick and thin.”
What are your career goals?
“To be happy and love whatever it is I end up doing. I know that if I love what I’m doing and I am genuinely happy doing it, then I’ll be successful no matter what it is. “
What is the biggest area of your game that’s developed since you have come to MVSU?
“My feet. Coach Flowers [Offensive Coordinator] has done an awesome job at stressing how important my feet are in relation to rhythm, timing, and velocity. The constant drilling in practice has caused me to play faster and more confidently in the pocket. Every time I catch a snap I hear Coach Flowers’ favorite five words ‘YOU HAVE TO DROP HARD!’ “
What are some of your favorite spots on campus but away from the field to be?
“Study hall, the weight room and my room. I love to help people, so in study hall when I see my teammates or other athletes struggling with a subject I’m strong in, I take pride in being the first to lend a helping hand. In my opinion the weight room is where championships are won and lost. The sweat equity from the weight room can take teams a long way late in the season and I love giving everything I have in the weight room for this team. Last but not least, my room. Like the old saying goes, “There’s no place like home.” Sleep is a big part of my recovery and I like to read knowledgeable books in my down time; both of which happen in my room.”
What do you get from being at MVSU that you could get no where else.

“Gratitude. Being at MVSU made me thankful for the little things in life that I sometimes used to take for granted and for that reason Valley will always hold a special place in my heart. “