Foreign athletes bring diversity

Academically and athletically, international student-athletes are making an impact on campus. Various sports have players from Europe, South America, Africa and the Caribbean. “I have seen, in my time in the MEAC, an insurgence of international student-athletes in the Olympic sports,” said Ken Riley, athletic director. The international athletes perform in several sports. They face the challenge of juggling school work and sports and adjusting to a new environment. The players also have to try to fit in on the team. Charlene Kambarami, 18, a sophomore tennis player, enjoys playing for FAMU. “My teammates make fun of my accent, but they don’t discriminate against me,” Kambarami said. Plus, “the weather in Florida is great for tennis,” she said. International student-atletes are particularly attractive because of their good academic records.”They don’t send average students; they send the best,” Riley said. Men’s basketball coach Mike Gillepsie has several international players on his team. He said he has less trouble getting them to keep with their studies.”They perform better academically. It’s important that I bring the best student-athletes to Florida A&M. You have less problems with their academics,” Gillepsie said. Brian Zamore, 20, a freshman basketball player from Dominica, came ready. “When I was at home, I’d study during the night and play basketball during the day. I came prepared,” Zamore said. The international student-athletes are leaders of their respective teams. As athletic director, Riley likes having great students involved in athletics. He believes they are concerned about succeeding in life. “They look at it as an opportunity to do good,” he said.