Kenny Ongkowijaya balances football and studies in the USA after two years in Marcet.

Kenny’s always been getting good grades. However, it is not his brilliant academic record that has allowed him to obtain a scholarship to study in the United States. It is thanks to football that the Indonesian midfielder is now enrolled at Davis & Elkins College, a university located in West Virginia.

“It’s my third year in America,” remembers Kenny Sebastian Ongkowijaya. “The first year I went to Providence University in Montana. There I played with Argos in the NAIA league, while now I compete with the Senators in the NCCAA, the other big college championship in the US. When I finish my degree in Sports Science I want to go into football as a professional.

To reach this objective, Kenny arrived at the Marcet High Performance Academy in the 2016-17 season. After two years of training in Barcelona, he and his family considered that the USA was the most interesting scenario for the midfielder to continue studying without dropping out of football. “The truth is that I had never thought about this possibility. They suggested it to us from Marcet and little by little I began to understand that this plan could work, because it would allow me to get my degree and, at the same time, play in a competitive league”.

“It’s my level of play that has allowed me to enter the American university system”

To date, no country other than the United States allows an effective combination of academic and sports education. In the American system, you don’t have to give up on football to keep studying. On the contrary, a good performance on the sports field only brings advantages in academic terms, as the scholarship won by Kenny shows. “It’s my level of play that has allowed me to enter the American university system,” explains the Indonesian footballer, alluding to the selection process he followed to be able to enrol in the USA, where the colleges grant financial aid depending on the sporting level of the candidates.

After two years in Barcelona, Kenny had all the requirements for such a scholarship. “Marcet helped me to improve my game, but also helped me to adapt to a different cultural context and gave me the opportunity to meet many people from all over the world. I’m still in touch with many of these people, and I’ve learned a lot from all of them.

Kenny doesn’t know where he will play in the future, but he has a clear roadmap to professional football. So much so that in the summer, instead of resting, he looks for teams to compete with. He did so in 2018, when he joined the SYA Pro U23 discipline. And he did it again the following year, with High Desert Elite FC. “It’s an opportunity to gain experience, open up new perspectives and continue learning. In the summer leagues I can compete not only against university teams, but also against clubs from all over the world. The important thing, right now, is to continue preparing for the future. Both with books and with the ball.”

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