Sameer Fathazada will have to cheer for the team on the sidelines for the rest of the season.
The forward has scored six goals and added two assists over seven games this season, but that has suddenly halted due to restrictions from the NCAA. Because of their regulations, the K-W United forward is limited to training with the team only as the club goes into their playoff push.
"The past few weeks have been very difficult for me having to watch from the sidelines," he said. "I haven't been able to play any games with the team but only train due to the NCAA rules and regulations."
According to NCAA rules, a player who graduates from high school may take one year off to play as many games as they'd like, and then every year they take off after that, they lose a year of playing eligibility at the school. Currently, Fathazada is on a two-year gap, but he wasn't able to take advantage of his first season due to an injury that occurred all season. So instead, to make up for it, he used his second year to play the games.
He did not know he was violating the rules.
But all is not lost for Fathazada's season. Fathazada has filed an appeal to the NCAA regarding playing this season, but it will take some time before it processes.
"It was my goal to come here and help the team win championships. I really hope to be able to play again this year but unfortunately it is looking unrealistic," he said. "The NCAA is very strict on their rules and regulations and for my appeal to go through, it may take some time."
"I will respect that and sit out until I have a final word."
Despite not being able to play, Fathazada is still supportive on the sidelines and encourages his team to press forward. Push forward not just for themselves, but for the people who make it work, for the fans, for the city, and for the badge on their chest.
"I said it from the start and will say it again, I believe in this team," Fathazada said. "We will need a little bit more work here and there but we definitely have the quality, and on a good day, I don't think anyone can hold us back. I wish the guys all the best and I'll be right behind the supporting them."
“Let's push and fight until the very last minute, one game at a time,” he continued.