Mostafa Ebrahimnejad, Hammond, soccer

Q&A --

December 06, 2006|By GLENN GRAHAM | GLENN GRAHAM,Sun Reporter

After missing 10 games during the season with a broken collarbone, Mostafa Ebrahimnejad returned for the playoffs to help lead Hammond to its first Class 2A state crown. A first-team All-Metro midfielder last fall, the standout senior scored the first goal and provided the game-winning assist in the Golden Bears' 3-1 win over Loch Raven in the championship game. Ebrahimnejad plays for the Bethesda United club team that qualified for the national tournament during the summer. He maintains a 3.5 grade point average and will play soccer at Georgetown next fall. What was it like coming back for the playoffs and helping the program win its first state title?

It was absolutely great. I wasn't 100 percent sure if I was coming back or not after my injury. So being able to come back, first of all, was a big joy, and then winning the first state title for Hammond - me and the entire team was overjoyed. It couldn't have turned out better. How did you feel returning to the field right in the middle of the playoffs?

I wasn't sure what was going to happen. My touch was still pretty good because before I was able to play in a game, I was able to practice. I just couldn't have contact. I was mainly just worried about my stamina more than anything else. After the games, I was just [exhausted]. I couldn't really even practice the next couple of days.

How tough was it having to sit out for those 10 games of your senior season?

The toughest part - we had two losses while I was out and we lost both of them, 1-0 - one was against Atholton and the other was against Oakland Mills. I think the biggest problem I had was I felt if I was able to play, then we might have had a better chance to win those games, possibly even win the first county championship for the team. Even if I was there, it could have gone the same way or even worse. But thinking of it like that, it was kind of rough.

When and why did you decide to go to Georgetown?

I had been talking to them throughout the summer and gave the coach [an oral] commitment two weeks into the school year. The prestige - it's just a wonderful school. It's got a good soccer team and isn't too far away from home, so it's perfect. I love D.C., especially the Georgetown area.

How much of the game has come naturally to you and how much is through hard work?

A lot of it is my dad - he really understands the game - he studies the game and he's been my coach my whole life. He always taught me how to think while I was playing. We watch games together now and he'll point things out to me that I didn't necessarily notice. I think also because I can use both feet equally that helps me out a lot. That didn't come naturally - I worked a lot on both to get it that way.

How did you feel after assisting on the second goal in the state title game to give the team a 2-0 lead on its way to the 3-1 win?

I couldn't get a smile off my face. Even after they scored one, I was fairly certain they weren't going to get another one because the whole season we only had six goals scored on us, including the final game. We were still pushing forward at times so I honestly felt that we were going to win it. And after we did win it, I didn't stop smiling until I fell asleep.

What was your best moment playing soccer at Hammond?

I think it would have to be when the whistle blew [to end the state title game] and we all ran over to the stands and just basically had a big huddle. That was just so much fun. That had to be one of the best moments I've ever had on the soccer field - club or high school.

What did you learn from your senior season?

I would probably have to say it's that we always knew we could do it, we just had to do it. So once we put our heads to it, I don't think there was any stopping us. I would think that would be the lesson - believe you can do it. I honestly never doubted that we were going to go to the state championship and win it, especially when we got to the playoffs and beat Atholton. Going into the semifinals and finals, I don't think I ever really thought about losing.

How important is it going into a game believing you're going to win?

Almost everything. If you're going in expecting to lose, then ... hmm. If you're going in expecting to win - you can still lose, but you definitely have a better chance of winning.

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