Posted on 12 May 2011.
International student from Cameroon on scholarship impresses all
Lyon College in Arkansas awarded a scholarship to Raoul Noumbissi, a second year forward/midfielder for the Gladiators soccer team.
The math major and former student tutor has been playing soccer since he was five years old. “My dream as a kid is to play professional, but if it doesn’t happen I want to get my masters and maybe teach,” Noumbissi said.
In two years, Noumbissi scored 16 goals for coach Tony Igwe’s soccer squad. His work was rewarded. All-Conference second team in 2009 and All-Conference first team in 2010.
His road to success, however, has not been easy.
A Cameroon native and a graduate from his home country’s high school, Lycee National Leon MBA, Noumbissi found his way to the U.S. as an international student.
Noumbissi lived with his sister, the only relative in this country, in Texas for his first three years. There, the soccer player attended a community college but eventually moved when he decided the south was not the place for him.
Noumbissi then found his way to the Bay Area, via a family friend. Here the soccer player wanted to continue playing and decided to look at local schools.
During his research on community college soccer teams, Noumbissi recognized coach Tony Igwe’s name from his native homeland. He knew about the coach’s soccer past with the national Nigerian team and decided to give Chabot a try.
But with a new experience and excitement at hand, moving twice in three years took a toll on the international student.
“When I met him the first time, it was hard to penetrate him” answered coach Igwe when asked about the first time he met his forward. “ He couldn’t open himself up. I had the same shock when I came to this country”, said Igwe.
Through time, Noumbissi opened up and started getting along with his teammates. He saw coach Igwe as a father figure and became close with teammate Jun Nishioka, an international student from Japan.
At first coach Igwe played Noumbissi at full back and mid field. He then realized the speed burst his future soccer player had and decided to put him at forward.
“I’m good at defending; I can play in the middle” Noumbissi answered proudly, sporting a Xavi F.C. Barcelona T-Shirt. “But forward is pretty much what I like to play,” said Noumbissi.
And at forward is where he has had his success. In a game last November, the number 9 Gladiator had a
similar touch to the ball as a professional player that also wears number 9, Samuel Eto’o, as he tourched Las Positas College with three goals in a 5-1 victory against their sister college.
In December, Noumbissi was invited to attend the 2010 Sophomore Showcase game in Santa Clarita CA. There, Noumbissi played with the North squad as they played versus the South, in a game meant for recruits and coaches to see the top talent.
After the game, recruits from Lyon College were amazed with Noumbissi’s soccer skills and contacted coach Igwe about his forward. Noumbissi traveled to Batesville, Arkansas to visit the campus and was pleased with their academic and sports program.“If I can play on a good team and go to a good school, that’s pretty much what I want to do,” said Noumbissi.