Ansumana Wally was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. He started school in PS 24 in his hometown, then moved to Ferris High School before transferring to County Prep High School.
Throughout his youth, Ansumana wanted more than anything to become a professional soccer player. In secondary school, he tried out for and made the varsity soccer team, while also playing for the Galactico, New Jersey soccer club on evenings and weekends. After high school, he enrolled in college, studying Health Sciences while simultaneously working as a cook to support himself. These days, he is focused intently on completing his education. He is also currently a part-time coach for a youth soccer team.
What do you currently do professionally?
Currently, I’m going to school, so that consumes a good deal of my time. After class, I come home, do my homework, study, and in the evenings, I go to work. Some nights I coach youth soccer. On my day off, I play indoor soccer with my friends.
What was the inspiration behind your career as a youth soccer coach?
When I was playing soccer for Galactico, my coach asked me to help out with the younger team that played under us. I became an assistant coach and worked with that team, which I still do to this day.
What defines your way of doing business?
I find it incredibly exciting and rewarding to bring ideas to life. In order to do that—to make my thoughts and notions into a reality—I think about them, find out the steps and proceedings necessary to carry them out, and then I take action. For example, if my soccer team has a big game coming up, as the captain, I will talk to the players about the strategies I think we should use. We’ll discuss these strategies, test them out, re-evaluate them, and then execute them when game day arrives.
What keys to being productive can you share?
I’m a very dedicated person. When I put my mind to something, I get it done. So, I suppose the habits that make me more productive would be tenacity, fortitude, and commitment. Additionally, writing down my goals has helped me to grow. By having a physical list of goals to look at and add to, it reminds me of the many things I want to accomplish with my life. There was a period of time when I didn’t write my goals down, and I found it was much easier to put them out of my mind, which is a dangerous thing when you’re striving to achieve something meaningful.
Tell us one long-term goal in your career.
Right now, I’m quite focused on completing my studies and graduating with as much knowledge as I possibly can.
What would you tell your younger self?
If I could travel back in time and offer some advice to my younger self, it would be to try harder in school and do better academically. Don’t just focus on soccer. Although it is one of things you most love to do, there are other parts of life that are important, as well.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned?
Organized athletics can bring a great deal of meaning to the lives of young people. It gives them a sense of community and teamwork, and it’s a constructive way to spend their free time. If there isn’t a youth soccer league in your community, it’s worthwhile to consider starting one up. Although there isn’t a whole lot of profit to be made from such an enterprise, it will make the neighborhood children happy and encourage them to exercise and practice good sportsmanship.
What are some of your favorite things to do outside of work and going to school?
In my opinion, it’s really important to keep physically fit and to have fun. It’s one of the reasons I love soccer so much. Whenever I’m not in school or coaching, I enjoy playing soccer with my friends.
How would your colleagues describe you?
I think my colleagues would describe me as committed, spiritual, approachable, and funny. At least, I think I have a great sense of humor—some people might disagree with that.
How do you maintain a solid work life balance?
Prayer. I believe that when you pray, you get answers from the highest authority. Whatever you believe in—it doesn’t matter what religion or denomination you are—prayer is one of the most important things a person can do. I believe that everyone should pray. It is the thing I credit most with maintaining mental and spiritual balance in my life.
What is one piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?
It’s a bit of a boring answer, but I have learned a lot from using the internet. It’s amazing how much knowledge you can acquire if you just look in the right places online.
What are some of the keys to your success?
I’ll answer this question by relating a lesson I learned in my youth. Back in high school, my soccer team lost an important game against another local school. We came close to winning, but unfortunately, we lost. That’s a failure I regret. I overcame it by realizing that there’s always another game; another chance to achieve victory. When a loss happens, I just have to talk to myself about it, then find a way to get over it. Mistakes are inevitable. When you make a mistake, it’s important to learn from it in order to avoid future mistakes. Understanding that has been a major key to my success.
What are a few influential books you’ve read and/or websites you keep up with that you’d recommend?
I heartily recommend the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s a good book for young entrepreneurs. It basically helps to guide you through the complex journey of starting a business from scratch. As for a website, I learn a lot from YouTube. I log on and search for certain coaching techniques or how to properly deal with a math or science problem. I’ve learned a lot from YouTube over the years.
What advice would you give to aspiring to succeed in your field?
Learn from your mistakes and never give up.
Getting to Know You: Ansumana Wally, Health Sciences Student and Youth Soccer Coach