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26

Jul, 2019

REACH Ambassador, Lucky Mkosana, on playing professionally and supporting the love of the game

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Lucky Mkosana’s path to playing professional soccer began almost 9,000 miles away from where he is today. Born in Zimbabwe, Lucky grew up playing soccer, unaware that the sport would take him around the world. He played at a soccer academy in Harare, Zimbabwe, then later found himself at Dartmouth University where he played all four years. During his time there, he scored 44 times in his 73 appearances and was named Ivy League Rookie of the Year (2008), Ivy League Player of the Year (2011), and earned All-Ivy First Team all four years. Lucky’s professional career began with the Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) where in two seasons he contributed 20 goals in 41 appearances. In 2013, he then signed with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. After a season and a half with the Rowdies, Lucky then switched to the New York Cosmos. Lucky then joined Penn FC Rush (formerly Harrisburg City Islanders) for the 2018 season, scoring 11 goals. This past year was a big year for Lucky, as he received his first call up to the Zimbabwean national team for its African Cup of Nations qualifier on September 9, 2018. 


Lucky has recently agreed to trade to the Tampa Bay Rowdies. “We are absolutely delighted to add Lucky to our squad,” says Rowdies Head Coach Neill Collins on the teams website in a welcome article. “It is hard to make your squad better at this stage in the season when the team has performed so well but it says everything about Lucky that we believe he will make us stronger for the second half of the season. Lucky has qualities that I believe suit our style of play and also adds a couple of qualities that I believe we have been missing.” 


Lucky doesn't have any thoughts about slowing down in his career. He shares, “As an athlete, I’m always trying to reach a certain level of excellence and to keep improving my game, while helping my teammates as well. I’m still trying to reach that level of excellence, even though it may be unattainable, the pursuit of it is the key driving force that keeps me going, and it’s also a lot of fun.”


The Rush Core Values have been influential throughout the course of Lucky’s career as they have taught him about, “not giving up, fighting for every play, and belief and confidence in myself and my teammates.” Rush has demonstrated “working together as a team to achieve one goal through hard work, determination and being disciplined on and off the field.”


While Lucky’s discipline is proven in the spotlight on the field, the ‘off the field’, behind the scenes work is as crucial to his success.  When asked how he stays on track to reach his goals, he says, “I set measurable, attainable, and specific goals for each month.” The mental dynamic of the game is also important to him, as he prioritizes “self-belief, mental imagery (visualizing a play, a dribble, a pass, or scoring a goal), and self-talk. Lifestyle also plays a role - eating well and getting adequate sleep.”


Also off of the field, Lucky utilizes soccer in order to give back. Lucky is Rush Soccer’s REACH Rush Equipment Assisting Children) Ambassador. The REACH Program supports over 2500 players in need of soccer equipment. One of the 30 international countries that the REACH program partners with is his home country, Zimbabwe. When asked how the club has been doing recently, Lucky responded,  


Zimbabwe Rush is slowly growing, more players are attending sessions and the coaches have seen a drastic improvement in the level of parent engagement and participation supporting the players. It’s a small community, easier to mobilize and work together as a team. They have friendly games 2 times a month. With the growing number of players, there’s a shortage of equipment - balls, cleats, cones, training kits, etc - but they are making it work with what they have.” 


You can learn more about REACH and how to get involved on our website.


We are proud to follow our alumni as they continue to excel in their professional careers and the work they are doing off the field. You can follow Lucky’s schedule as he competes for the Rowdies for the second half of his season. 


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