« Men’s Soccer 2016

Lalas Abubakar

School

University of Dayton

Position
Defender
Major
Engineering Management

Classroom

When talking with the academic advisor for Lalas Abubakar, one notion kept coming up: He’s always in study hall. Beyond the required hours set for each men’s soccer player, Abubakar is still in the academic room with books all over the table and an unwavering focus. On average, the student-athletes are supposed to do five hours a week during the season, and Abubakar turns in 13 or 14 hours each week. Just as serious on the field, Abubakar is committed to his academic work. He is currently working on his master’s degree in engineering management after receiving his bachelor’s degree this past May. Coming from another country and having English as a second language, Abubakar has to work twice as hard, not just because it’s a struggle, but because he wants to succeed. With a cumulative GPA of 3.40, Abubakar earned Academic All-Ohio Honors last season. He has been named to multiple Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Rolls and even earned Dayton Athletics’ R.U.D.Y.S. Rising Star Award, given to an up-and-coming student-athlete who was successful on the field, in the classroom and in the community.

Character

As a sophomore, Abubakar came all the way to Dayton after attending the University of Ghana in his native country his first year. Originally from Kumasi, Ghana, Abubakar moved to Accra to attend school. After having known former Flyers and fellow University of Ghana students Amass Amankona (2015 Senior Class Award All-American) and Alex Amankwaah, he came to the United States to attend Dayton. Since his first day at UD, Abubakar has been an extremely hard worker. He takes advantage of the opportunity to get a quality education and to impact the people he comes across in his daily life. Abubakar always has a positive demeanor and is very appreciative of the academic and athletic support that he receives. In this way, he is a perfect example for other student-athletes, students, and young boys and girls. His peers look up to him, and that is why he is a leader on the men’s soccer team and in the classroom. After losses and during obstacles, Abubakar is still looking to cheer up his teammates, stay positive and look toward getting better. He does not dwell on hard times because he truly understands how fortunate he is.

Community

Abubakar is a very active member of the community, working with a number of different philanthropies connected to Dayton men’s soccer. He participates in the annual Christmas on Campus event, hosting under-privileged kids from Dayton for a night of games, presents and mentorship. He also participates in the Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome, working with young boys and girls with Down syndrome in a day of activities. He helps mentor and teach kids at both the Trotwood Soccer Clinics and Dayton Stingrays, working with under-privileged children or kids with disabilities. Abubakar is also involved in the Gospel Mission on campus and the Team IMPACT program, which helped the soccer team adopt a local boy with cystic fibrosis. He helped honor the young boy at the last home game with a jersey and card on his birthday. Coming from his background and humble beginnings, Abubakar understands how lucky he is to attend school, to play a sport he loves, and to have more than enough to survive. Kids he grew up with are not as lucky, and that perspective helps him give back to the Dayton community.

Competition

Abubakar is the key returner from last season’s Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship team, which made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. He was named first-team All-Region, first-team All-Ohio and first-team All-Conference. Abubakar earned team Defensive Player of the Year honors, as well as Preseason All-Conference accolades both last year and this year. With just one card in 2,177 minutes of play, Abubakar was the anchor for the defense, playing centerback. He led the team in minutes played in his 23 starts, and not only did he lead his team to four shutouts, he also chipped in career highs in goals, assists, and points. As of mid-September this season, he had already contributed a goal and 12 shots in six games, and once again he leads the Flyers in minutes played. Abubakar also has national team experience, playing for the Ghana National Under 20 team. This past summer, he played for the Michigan Bucks in the PDL Summer League. Not only did he play with some of the top college prospects from around the country, he earned PDL League Defensive Player of the Year honors while leading his team to the championship. Strong, smart and skilled, Abubakar has been looked at by professional scouts since his debut season two years ago. It is expected that he will be the next Dayton Flyer to play professionally after his final season is complete.