THE former Kick4Life duo of Mako Makoanyane and Lesia Thetsane recently accepted two-year soccer scholarships at Columbia College in Missouri, United States. The two left the country in August 2016 and spent two years studying and playing football on fully-funded scholarships at State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Missouri.
At State Fair, they have both been successful academically and on the playing field. In 2017 for State Fair, Lesia earned an all-Region first team call-up for Missouri Community College Athletic Conference (MCCAC) and an all-conference first team honors while Mako earned MCCAC all-conference first team honors.
In August 2018, the former Makoanyane XI players both move to Columbia. Mikia Kalati (LT), a reporter at the Lesotho Times, caught-up with Thetsane and he opened up about life in the US and his career.
LT: It must have been difficult for you to leave Kick4Life when your career was taking shape and you had to start afresh in the United States of America. How much do you think you have developed since you left Lesotho?
Thetsane: It was easy for me to adapt to the new environment here in the USA. My teammates and coaches helped me to settle. I think I have developed as a player especially in the leading aspect of the game because I was captain of my team at State Fair. I also think physically, I have grown bigger and stronger.
LT: How is the standard of the game compared to what you were used to in Lesotho?
Thetsane: The standard of the game here is very different from Lesotho, because at the college level we play twice or thrice a week so in turn the training has to be light. In Lesotho, I used to play once a week either Saturday or Sunday. It is more intense and physical because of the frequency of matches.
LT: Do you think more youngsters from your home country would benefit if they were to get the same opportunity to play and study in the US?
Thetsane: I would definitely encourage that more youngsters get the same opportunity because it gives them exposure to competitive soccer and academics so that they can prove what they are capable of in all aspects of their lives. The international experience also promotes our soccer and gives the senior coach a larger pool of players to select from.
LT: You have recently been awarded another scholarship after completing your first with countryman Mako Makoanyane at State Fair. How has the journey been and how big an opportunity is it for you?
Thetsane: It has been a good journey for me but it requires hard work, focus so that one can balance soccer and school. In the USA, if I do not do well in school, I do not get to play for the whole season. But for me, it has not been something new because back home if I did not do well in school, my parents would not allow me to play soccer. I am grateful for this opportunity and I’m working hard to make a huge impact on Kick4life and Lesotho football once I finish school. Whether I stay here or come back home right away; I will still make an impact on behalf of the team.
LT: You have played for the national under-20 team before you left the country, do you think you are now ready for the senior national team and are you in touch with the coach?
Thetsane: I’m ready for the senior national team but I will be in an even better position after I’m done with my academics and maybe just focusing on soccer. There has not been any communication or contact with the coach.
LT: What are your goals going forward as far as your football career is concerned? Have you got a chance to watch the MLS and would like to play at that level?
Thetsane: My goal is to finish school with the best grades possible, have my degree then make my way to the highest level of professional or semi-pro soccer in the USA, which is MLS or USL. I have not been to a game but I’m planning to do that once my school schedule allows although I follow MLS and USL.