By Marc Weems
Before ever stepping foot at Youngstown State University, Ernestina Abambila’s journey has taken her all over the world.
Abambila is originally born and raised in Takoradi, Ghana. In 2013, she attended the University of Ghana before playing on Ghana’s Under-20 National soccer team in the 2014 World Cup. After her stint with the national team, she made the trip to the United States to play college soccer.
She began her soccer journey at Mississippi Valley State University. In her first season at MVSU in 2014, she recorded two goals and two assists for a six-point total. In Abambila’s second season at MVSU in 2015, she helped lead the team to the Southwestern Athletic Conference regular season championship while amassing 37 points with 14 goals and nine assists.
Abambila played for YSU head coach Fabio Boateng and followed him to YSU after he was hired during the winter.
“He always motivates me. That, ‘Ernestina you can do it. Just try your best and you can do it,’” Abambila said. “He uses stuff like that to motivate me, and that’s what keeps me going each day.”
Boateng talked about how Abambila has become acclimated to the United States and everything else in the last few years.
“It’s always difficult to come far away from home and get out of your environment,” Boateng said. “I was in the head [coaching] position for international students back in 2006. That kind of guidelines, I offer support to all my international students. Sometimes, people just miss their home, and I try to help them with that.”
Boateng said he wasn’t surprised when he found out Abambila made the decision to come to YSU after he took the job.
“I remember when I made the announcement to the team at MVSU that I had taken over a new job, and that I will be leaving,” Boateng said. “Ernestina said right after that she wanted to go with me. I told her hold on it’s a process, and once you get through that then we can talk.”
In his one season at MVSU, Boateng had the Delta Devils to a 13-7-2, 8-1-1 record in one year there. Boateng talked about Abambila’s ability to connect with her teammates this season.
“Ernestina is more of a possession type of player. She’s also a very good technical player, but she understands the game very well,” Boateng said. “She creates for herself and can score. It is interesting to note that she is truly a defensive player by nature. I’ve been able to turn her into a successful offensive attacker.”
This is now Boateng and Abambila’s second season together. In that span, Abambila has amassed 55 points and is currently fourth all-time in YSU history for points in a season at 18, is 10th all-time for goals in a season at six and is tied for first in assists in one season with six.
“Oh, I don’t care. I just want to score about 10 goals and get 10 assists, but I want to win more than having a record,” Abambila said.
Boateng said Abambila is a versatile player and has a winning attitude.
“We can use her for the flexibility, but that is not our approach. For Ernestina and myself, records are really just numbers,” Boateng said. “At the end of the day, everything is about the team and about trying to win. We always say that the name on the front of the jersey, which is YSU, is more important than what is on the back of the jersey.”