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Athlete of the Week: Akeel ’16 pushes Bruno past Bulldogs with two goals

The attacking midfielder secured two goals within the first nine minutes of play in New Haven

Men’s soccer midfielder Tariq Akeel ’16 continued his impressive year Saturday with two quick goals against Yale in a 3-1 victory. Akeel has played in every game this season and leads the team (7-6-3, Ivy 3-1-2) with 14 points — six goals and eight assists. During his first year Akeel played in all 19 matches and was selected for the team’s Britton Chichester Award, which is given to the first-year who best embodies sportsmanship.

For his leadership throughout the year and outstanding play this weekend, Akeel is named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.


The Herald: How important was it to get a quick lead in your game against Yale Saturday?

Akeel: I thought it was important because lately we have been getting off to bad starts, and we get ourselves in a hole and we can’t really get out of it.


What are some of the team’s strengths this year?

I think the strengths at the beginning of the year was our ability to just hold off teams and counter on them, but I think as our defense has gotten stronger, I think they are definitely one of our strengths, as well.


How have you improved your individual play from last year?

Last year I had more of a defensive role, but this year I have taken on a lot of attacking responsibilities.


Do you or the team have a pre-game routine?

Before every game we usually blast music in the locker room. We have a certain routine where the coach comes in and says something to us — we go out and warm up. Then we come back in the locker room, (our coach) says something else, we shake hands as a team, and then we go out there and start to get some sprints in.


How do you feel the season has gone so far?

To be honest with you (I) would have liked to be having a shot at the Ivy League Title this weekend, but things just didn’t work out. Harvard has had a great year — one loss to them hurt us. We thought this was going to be a rebuilding year, but we are finishing it off real strong.


What do you see ahead for Brown soccer? 

Hopefully we can get a nice five-game win streak this Saturday. Next year we should be really strong. We should be one of the top contenders in the Ivy League and definitely do better throughout the regular season.


When did you start playing soccer?

I started probably when I was three or four.


What schools were you looking at besides Brown, and what made you choose Brown?

I was looking at Michigan State and (the University of Michigan) pretty hard, but I chose Brown because you can’t turn down the education, and they had been very successful at soccer.


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