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Tuesday, June 18
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Sarkodie returns after workouts with Euro teams

IU soccer fans can worry no more — Ofori is back.\nJunior defender Ofori Sarkodie has returned to the roster after taking a brief hiatus last season to play European ball.\nA regular on U.S. national teams, Sarkodie is no stranger to playing soccer at a high level, but said this experience was like none other.\n“It was an absolutely amazing experience,” Sarkodie said. “It really opened my eyes to different playing styles. Mentally, the game is different. It’s more intense. They pay attention to detail. Every play is like the last run to the net.”\nSarkodie decided to take the trip after realizing he was ahead in his course work and could afford to take a semester off. While in Europe, he practiced with teams in Norway, Holland and Portugal. \n“I decided I wanted to experience Europe and the playing style in Europe.” he said. \nSeveral teams had their eye on Sarkodie after his experience playing on the Under-20 World Cup team last summer. \nIn addition to learning new playing techniques, Sarkodie also got to experience European culture and the importance of soccer.\n“Soccer is their culture, their pastime,” Sarkodie said. “The game really plays into their nationalism.”\nAlthough he was a regular starter on the IU team, Sarkodie said that getting back on the squad won’t come easy.\n“I have to compete for the position like I would on any other team.” he said.\nSeveral players were moved around in their positions last season to help fill in for Sarkodie’s absence, including sophomore Rich Balchan. Balchan is currently playing with the U-20 national team. \nSarkodie said he would like to continue playing soccer at a national level, but his options are somewhat limited. He remains optimistic, however.\n“The only (national team) I’m eligible for is the U-23 team, which is the Olympic team,” Sarkodie said. “It’s a pretty large pool to pick from, but you never know.”

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