Miami FC Midfielder Michael Lahoud Named 2016 Humanitarian Of The Year

The Sierra Leone native has given back to his homeland through education
NASL Staff (@naslofficial} | Nov 8, 2016

Michael Lahoud’s story is one of escape, redemption in a new land, and a promise kept to give back to the youngsters of his native Sierra Leone and others in the United States and around the world who are in need.

He has since given back to his homeland, becoming involved with Schools for Salone because it is an organization that connects to his personal story, having fled a civil war to avoid any chance of becoming a child soldier. Schools for Salone has helped Lahoud realize the importance of giving back to the children of Sierra Leone who have not been as fortunate as he has been. For his efforts off the field, Lahoud has been named 2016 NASL Humanitarian of the Year. 

In early September of last year, the school that both Lahoud and his fellow soccer professional Kei Kamara worked so hard to have built, came alive, providing free education to students in Freetown. The school now has more than 50 students enrolled. After his soccer career, Lahoud plans to continue his efforts.

“This school is a part of me,” Lahoud said. “It is a part of my story and will always be a part of my story. Building it has been a dream come true. I hope to continue changing the lives many through the sport that I love.”

Lahoud, 30, has also done several speaking engagements since he arrived at Miami FC at towards the end of the Spring Season, including USPORT at the University of Miami Business School. The central midfielder began the NASL campaign with the New York Cosmos, on loan from MLS’s Philadelphia Union.  During his time on Long Island he was also invited to speak to the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf on Long Island, N.Y., Beyond Sport ESPN Leadership Dinner in New York City, and was the guest of honor at the Young Life Annual Foundation dinner in New York City.

Lahoud moved to the United States at six years old and grew up in Virginia. After high school in Fairfax, Va., he attended Wake Forest University, helping the Demon Deacons to the NCAA Division I men’s title in 2007 and Final Four appearances in 2006 and 2008. After being drafted by Chivas USA of MLS in the first round in 2009, Lahoud became involved in the LAFC Youth Leadership Academy and Bresee Foundation in Los Angeles.

During his nearly four years with the Union, Lahoud earned a cap for the national team for Sierra Leone during qualification matches for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. It was the first time he returned to the country of his birth since he was a child.

“I think the most rewarding thing for me is really seeing is athletes, and as an athlete in particular, that we really can make a difference through our sports,” Lahoud added. “I believe soccer can make a difference.”

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