Budding Zimbabwean footballer, Azriel Kalin Johnson, has opened up about his reasons for choosing United States education instead of going professional.
Johnson, son of former Warriors left-back Allan Johnson and a Malawian mother said his family persuaded him to make the decision and he does not regret choosing to go to college over becoming a professional footballer. He said:
It was really hard for me because obviously my dream is to become a professional.
But at a young age like that, and talking to my parents, I felt like it was not the right thing to do. So I decided to go to school.
I do not regret it. I experienced a new culture and basically changed my whole lifestyle.
Johnson impressed scouts when he played for Malawi at the 2016 Cosafa U20 tournament.
After the COSAFA tournament, he was invited for trials in Denmark where he spent four weeks at Hobro IK before South Africa’s top clubs such as Orlando Pirates and Amazulu offered him a chance for trials.
The youngster rejected the clubs’ offers and accepted a full scholarship that was offered by St Benedict’s Preparatory School in New Jersey.
A StandardSport gives Azriel Johnson’s brief background. It says:
Azriel started his football and education journey at Prince Edward School in Harare, but later opted for homeschooling after participation in sports started affecting his performance in class. He opted for home-schooling but continued training with Aces Youth Soccer Academy.
Born in Zimbabwe, his maternal grandparents hail from Malawi, which explains his decision to represent Malawi in the 2016 Cosafa Under-20 tournament in South Africa.
Since he has not played for the senior team, the Flames of Malawi, he can change his mind and feature for the Zimbabwe Warriors, according to FIFA rules.
The young star, with four caps for the Malawi national Under-20 soccer team, has left the door open for playing for Zimbabwe should he make the cut.