Jacinta Addo’-Badu had more to get adjusted to than a new school, new friends and a new way of life when she immigrated to the United State from Ghana last fall. The weather wasn’t exactly to her liking coming from consistent days of 85 degrees and up in Ghana’s capital city of Accra.
It affected her so much so that she chose not to try out for the Cardinal Spellman girls’ soccer team as a freshman, even though she has played the sport since she could walk.
“When I came last year it was really cold, because I wasn’t use to the weather,” she said. “Now I don’t get why I was complaining back then. It’s really hot now.”
Her teammates stay on her especially Danae Dookhie and Emma Carrillo who ran track with her later in the year. Eventually it was Addo’-Badu who ultimately decided she was tired of not doing what she loved. Boy is she and Spellman happy she is back in cleats and shin guards.
“This year I was just sitting at home all summer, just getting fat and I said, ‘No. Let me go to preseason,’” Addo’-Badu said. “Preseason was tough, but I guess it is paying off now.”
She’s made an immediate impact on the field for Spellman as one of its top forwards and midfielders. Addo’-Badu scored the first two goals of her career in a win over rival Preston on Sept. 19. The second score, which put the game out reach, came from an extremely difficult angle. She dribbled deep along the right side and fired the ball across the box and scored to the far post.
It displayed the level of talent Addo’-Badu possesses. Pilots coach Mel Brown compared her natural knack for scoring to former Spellman star Taylor Addison, who went on to play Division I soccer at Delaware State.
“She has speed,” Brown said. “She has skill and she has touch on the ball. She is aware of where she is at all times, especially in the 18 and 6-yard box.”
She traveled to the United States to be reunited with her mother Josephine and step father Miguel, who she had been away from for 10 years. Addo’-Badu credited her grandmother and brothers in Ghana for doing their best to raised her, but just is much more comfortable in her current situation.
“There are no words because when I was away from my family everyone pitched in, my grandmother, my brothers,” she said. “But there is nothing like your parents.”
Addo’-Badu played plenty the soccer on the streets of Ghana, especially at night she said. She isn’t a stranger to the organized style of the game however. Addo’-Badu played for her school team at Christ the King and even took a trip to Norway for a tournament.
Spellman’s veteran players are happy she is on their side now. Addo’-Badu complements Doohkie and junior Susana Tario. She takes some of the heat off them to score and Addo’-Badu isn’t afraid to drop back into the midfield to defend also. It was worth the wait to get her on the field.
“It’s just a relief,” Doohkie said. “We finally have somebody. We needed another player with a lot of players leaving. We knew she was going to be good. We knew she was going to really help us.“