MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Marquette’s C. Nortey goes simply by “C,” but what does “C” stand for?
It could be courage.
Nortey left his native country of Ghana, and through the “Right to Dream Academy” — a charity that offers underprivileged children in Africa the opportunity to reach their true potential, came to Lakeville, Connecticut to play high school soccer at The Hotchkiss School.
“Living in Ghana when you’re little makes you become mentally tough so you don’t give up. You learn to be successful through hard work. You don’t do short cuts — work to get it. That’s what I am now because of growing up in Ghana and it’s very rewarding,” Nortey said.
Nortey was then recruited by Marquette University. His coach, Louis Bennett would say “C” means competitive.
“He’s tough, he’s fast, he’s really slippery and he plays with a certain tenaciousness but plays with a real love for the game,” Bennett said.
However, Bennett also says “C” could stand for character, because of Nortey’s ability to bounce back from a major injury — having surgery on both of his knees.
“He’s become an inspiration to those who have had minor injuries — to think he had one leg done so he could wait to have the other leg done and come back — possibly better. It’s a phenomenal achievement in itself,” Bennett said.
FOX6’s Courtney King says “C” means calm.
“Having people around me that want me to be back as bad as I want myself to be back is really encouraging. We also have the best trainer. She was so helpful and I did whatever she said,” Nortey said.
Also — compassionate.
“I am so humble with all this recognition, but my teammates deserve just as much recognition. We all work very hard in practice,” Nortey said.
Many would say charitable. Nortey goes back to Ghana every chance he gets, and gives back by teaching soccer at an all girls school.
“This school in this village gives girls the opportunity to go to school and learn different sports. It’s good for them It gives them something to be hopeful for,” Nortey said.
To those young Ghana girls, “C” means coach, but to others in Ghana, it means counselor.
“I also talk with young people about, it’s called life class. They ask me questions like ‘how come I’m here,’ ‘how did I get here.” I answer them. Through the answers I tell them they can get there too. You have to be humble and you have to learn and be passionate about what you’re interested in, and do it well. They love when I come back. They treat me like a big time professional player when I go back, and I tell them I go to school, and they don’t believe that. They ask simple questions like ‘what does the floor look like over there?’ Because in Ghana, it’s like dirt,” Nortey said.
“C” definitely means career. After college, Nortey’s dream is to play professional soccer, and Bennett says he wouldn’t be surprised.
“You never underestimate C. Nortey because when he puts his mind to it, there’s a lot he can do,” Bennett said.