South Charlotte

Athlete of the week: Potent Mustang forward is hard to stop

It's easy for opposing teams to forget about Hussein Ali.

Myers Park soccer has one of the best offenses in the state with 137 goals last year.

There's senior Erick Suarez, the team's leading goal scorer last year, and seniors Woody Houck and David Swaim to worry about.

Ali is 5-foot-1, often the smallest player on the field. But it's a risk to forget about Ali, a junior.

Charlotte Latin learned that the hard way Aug. 27 when Ali, 17, scored five goals in a 5-1 win at the Soccer for a Cure tournament.

"I feel like the team just kept pushing me to go do something big, and I guess it was just my time to go do something big," said Ali, who is a third-year varsity player with six goals this season.

Coach Bucky McCarley credited the wealth of talent at forward and midfield for the performance.

"People who weren't at this game are going to say, 'Man, Hussein scored five goals. That's insane.' And it is, it's totally insane that one kid would score five goals," said McCarley. "Someone who was here would say, 'My God, that team's impressive.'"

Suarez had three assists.

McCarley said Ali looks up to the senior class and they are like older brothers. Even after he had four goals, Ali was trying to get the ball to Suarez to score.

"It would be hard to coach a better kid," said McCarley. "He's humble; he's hardworking."

Ali was born in Kenya but came to Charlotte when he was 4 years old. He started playing soccer around age 5.

Being one of the smallest players on the field makes Ali work harder, he said, especially with other talented players on the Myers Park team.

"Our attacking is all fantastic," said Ali. "I have to work harder to even keep my position. I like competing against people that are older than me. It's more challenging for me."

Myers Park is ranked No. 2 in the 4A state coaches poll and has its sights set on a state championship after losing in the title game last year. If teams want to beat the Myers Park, they will have to find ways to defend the Mustangs.

"Go ahead and come into the game and try to shut Hussein down, go ahead and try that and see how that works out for you. Erick's going to score on you," said McCarley. "Then shut the two of them down and we've got a kid named David Swaim who will come out of the midfield and score on you."