Athletic dream becomes reality for Dainkeh
Senior Suli Dainkeh traveled to Holland, Belgium, and Germany during a European Training Camp to participate in four international-friendly matches for the United States’ Under-18 Men’s National Soccer Team.
“I went on the national team trip to represent and play for my country,” Dainkeh said. “It was an amazing experience for me to improve my soccer skills while experiencing other cultures.”
The national team participated in a training camp and challenged other nation’s teams in their homelands, including two teams from Holland.
Dainkeh’s team kicked off the camp challenging Feyenoord Academy, a joint academy of professional soccer clubs Feyenoord and Excelsior located in Rotterdam, Holland, defeating them 2-0.
The second game played was also a success for the national team, as they defeated Germany’s Borussia Dortmund 1-0.
The US national team earned a 4-2 win against the Netherlands, a previously undefeated team, in Grosebeek, Holland.
“It was an amazing feeling to beat one of the best teams in the world,” Dainkeh said. “I am really proud of this accomplishment.”
In the final match of the European Training Camp, the national team fell to Club Brugge, Belgium’s Under-19 club, 3-1.
Dainkeh was part of D.C United Academy for two years after playing for the Academy’s Under-15/16 team in 2010. He was named to the East Conference’s Under-15/16 Academy Best XI team. As reported in a Sept. 6 Reston Patch story, Dainkeh started 27 games for the Academy team.
Although Dainkeh has had plenty of experience with D.C United and national teams, he is looking forward to playing soccer at the college level.
Dainkeh was recruited by 15 NCAA Division I colleges, including University of Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia.
Dainkeh verbally committed to the University of Maryland during his junior year at South Lakes. His decision was impacted by how close the school is to his home.
“When I went to University of Maryland it just felt right,” Dainkeh said. “I loved the coaches and the school, plus the college is academically right for me.”
With all the experiences Dainkeh has had through his soccer career, he considers the national team’s camp the greatest.
“Being selected to play was the biggest accomplishment of my soccer career so far,” said Dainkeh. “It was amazing for me.”