EducationUSA – SSN Partnership Sees First Crop of Sports Scholarships

The U.S. bound students!
The U.S. bound students!

Five Zimbabwean student athletes started studies in the United States this month financed by American universities through sports scholarships.  The students worked through an innovative partnership between the U.S. Embassy’s EducationUSA Advising Center and local company Schools Sports Network (SSN).

The student athletes are Michael Songore from Peterhouse, a 100m and 200m athlete who will pursue studies at Western Kentucky University; hockey player Fariyah Omarshah from Arundel School, attending Sienna College in New York; Elton Kativhu a 100m and 200m athlete from St Ignatius College attending Goucher College in Maryland; Chad Idensohn, internationally ranked swimmer joining the University of Arizona; and Anesu Brian Simango from Prince Edward school, a long and triple jumper starting at Wingate University in North Carolina.  The students are studying various fields at NCAA Division 1 and 2 universities on sports scholarships.

Sports scholarships have enabled many Zimbabwe students to recognize and enhance their sporting talent while earning a quality university education in the United States.

Notably, many Zimbabwean Olympians, including sprinters Brian Dzingai and Gabrielle Mvumvure, jumper Ngoni Makusha, and swimmer Kirsty Coventry, improved their sport while studying in the U.S. on sports scholarships.  Late last year, two women field hockey players, Rachel Goromonzi and Rufaro Mushavi, from Limestone College buried themselves in glory when they buoyed their college to clinch the inaugural Eastern College Athletic Conference Division II championship.  Last year, soccer player Tapiwa Machingauta won the coveted NCAA Osborne Award for his top performance as a soccer player at Bradley University.

In 2014, EducationUSA Advising Center partnered with School Sports Network (http://www.ssn.co.zw/), an online digital media outlet, on a project to work together with schools and student athletes, at no charge to them.  SSN provides authoritative sports news and results from schools throughout the country.  The initiative, founded and run by Chenjerai Katanda, enables local high school sports talent to be visible online, tracking achievements and verifying local talent for interested coaches.

The EducationUSA-SSN partnership includes availing electronic timing equipment for cross country, athletics, and rowing events, as well as training sports directors and coaches on keeping stats helpful to verifying sporting talent in various disciplines.  The partnership created Player Base, an online database of nationally and provincially ranked student athletes that international coaches can access.

Some of EducationUSA and SSN’s first cohort of student athletes are among these five who started in January with others currently waiting for responses to begin studies in August 2015.  EducationUSA and SSN are now starting with a new cohort of A level student athletes interested in starting studies in the U.S. in 2016.

“Through seminars with sports directors in high schools, we are working with SSN to equip high school coaches, sports associations, and parents to help their student athletes win sports scholarships at colleges and universities in the United States,” said an elated Rebecca Zeigler Mano, EducationUSA Advising Center Country Coordinator.  “The initiative will see more and more students with sporting talent being recognized at national and international level and earning deserved scholarships for both their sporting talent and their academic achievements.  Sports scholarships hold a great potential to develop high levels of sporting capacity for Zimbabwe.”

“Students, parents and coaches should know that they do not need to pay an agent in order to apply for a sports scholarship.” Zeigler Mano continued.  EducationUSA Advising Centers are located in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, and Mutare, and assist students interested in studying in the United States.  Information and services are offered freely to students and no payment is required to enable a student to apply for a scholarship.

Previously invisible sporting talents, like triple jumper Brian Mada from Manicaland who won gold at the recent Region 5 games in Bulawayo with a record breaking 15,65 jump, have benefited from the SSN profiling and garnered interest among local and international coaches and associations.

EducationUSA Advising Center in conjunction with SSN will give a presentation on how to apply for a sports scholarship to study in the U.S. for interested high school national level athletes and their parents at 5:30pm on Monday, February 2nd, at Hellenic Academy, located on Basset Crescent off of Borrowdale Road in Alexandra Park.

Student athletes who want to qualify for a sports-based scholarship need to be playing sports at a national amateur level, and they have to take the SAT, go through the U.S. admission process, and earn good grades at O and A level. – ZimPAS(c) January 29, 2015