North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Ismet Bojku, Senior

Photo credited to Ismet Bojku

What is your name and grade? Ismet Bojku, Senior

Can you share your experience playing soccer on a travel team? My experience was very fun and life-changing in a way. Being there with your teammates and exploring new places and environments is a nice way to bond with my teammates and to enjoy the experience.

What position do you typically play, and what do you enjoy most about being part of a competitive soccer team? I am a forward usually, a winger is my preferred position, but I can play striker as well. The best part is being able to compete with good players and to show off my skills.

What initially sparked your interest in soccer, and how long have you been playing the sport? Initially, my mother, when I was four years old, she put me in a local club team in my city, and ever since then, I fell in love with the game and wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a soccer player.

Have you considered or plan to pursue a soccer career? What influenced your decision? Yes, I do plan to pursue a career. I plan on playing at the collegiate level. I would love to play for either UIC, Indiana, Wisconsin or maybe Dominican University as well.

Besides soccer, what other interests or hobbies are you passionate about? I’m really interested in sports medicine and physical therapy. Because I’m a soccer player, injuries happen a lot, and I feel like it’s very fascinating to help fellow soccer players, keep hope, and pursue their dreams by recovering them safely.

Would you pursue this as a career? As my plan B, yes, to pursue either sports medicine or a physical therapist.

How do you balance your time between school, soccer, and any other commitments you may have? I still have trouble balancing my commitments; I tend to focus more on soccer than school– and I think, by my grades and my performance on the field, you can determine that. Although that seems bad, that’s the reality. Look at Messi’s GPA or Ronaldo’s; it wasn’t the best. They didn’t need a great GPA to be a pro soccer player, and they’re the best soccer players in the world.

Can you describe a particularly memorable moment or achievement from your time playing soccer? I have so many. I will 100% say the first time playing for varsity; It was the Niles West Derby game. I was on the bench, my team wasn’t playing so well, the score was 0-0, then my coach looked at me and said, “Hey Ismet, come get in the game.” So, within the last 15 minutes, he put me in the game and I made a big impact. I scored the first goal of the game to win against Niles West and I hit the fattest Griddy in theon the audience. I won the Derby trophy after that; that’s definitely one of my most memorable memories because that’s when I became recognizable for my talent and skills.

What are the most valuable lessons or skills you’ve learned from playing soccer? I learned that hard work beats talent any day, and if you work hard enough, you can accomplish anything you want in life.

How has being part of a soccer team helped shape your character or contribute to your personal growth in high school? It helped me learn how not to be a sore loser: Not everybody wins but when you play more of the game you mature and realize this is all a way to become better.

As you prepare to graduate from high school and enter adulthood, What are some of your aspirations or goals, soccer-related or otherwise? To train harder, become more focused in my sport, try to get a good education in the process as well, and surround myself with better people and people better than me: I feel as though being surrounded by people better than you will make you a better and more successful person.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go, and why? I would love to go to Dubai, I feel like that place is beautiful. I’ve seen so many pictures and videos of people going there. I feel like it’s such a nice place to go to relax, find peace, and enjoy a good time over there– and it’s a Muslim community too.

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About the Contributor
Gabby Mattison
Gabby Mattison, Reporter
Gabby is a senior at Niles North and this is her first year in North Star News. In her free time she likes to learn new things, watching new shows/movies, and spending time with her nephews/nieces.

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