Central midfielder Joseph Nane played soccer before deciding to concentrate on an accounting degree. Given an opportunity to pursue both passions at Old Dominion, the Cameroonian native came to the U.S. in 2006. After stints with Toronto and Colorado (Major League Soccer), the 27-year-old Nane now counts wins with the Cosmos. Nane and the Cosmos will aim for their second consecutive home victory, against the Atlanta at Shuart Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday.
How did you get to the United States?
It's a funny story. One of the Old Dominion coaches had some of his friends. One [went] to Cameroon to look for college players. I was in my first year of college. They asked my dad. My dad said, "I don't know any soccer players." They saw my mom when she was going to the market and she said, "My son actually plays soccer." There was a big soccer tournament. At the end of the first day, he was like, "I want you to come Old Dominion."
What was your experience like at ODU?
I had no idea about America. I wanted to be somewhere where it doesn't snow. I didn't want to experience the cold. Everything seems bigger. So I really, really loved [Norfolk, Virginia]. When I went to school, it was a different vibe; my first time in a public school. Everything is spread out. You go in and out of classes, where in Cameroon you switched a few classes because it was a private school.
It must have been surreal.
It was hard, especially the first semester because I had to learn the language. It was hard for me to communicate. My accent was stronger. But I was always a better listener and writer. I watched TV with the script in English so I could read and learn how to spell. The toughest ... was during the holidays. Everybody goes home. I don't know anybody and I had to stay in the dorm.
What was your first snow experience like?
My first experience was when it was close to zero without snow. We played Hofstra. I saw people warming up without gloves. I had double gloves on. I decided to remove my gloves. I sat down and I started shaking. The whole bench started shaking so I had to switch benches so I wouldn't make anybody uncomfortable. When the coach saw that, I didn't play a minute. When I saw the snow for the first time, actually I was walking around to see what it was about. It was fun. Still, I am not a big fan of snow.
Do you get a chance to return home?
Every December. I always go back. I've got to see my mama. My mama was telling me, "I'm old." The average age in Cameroon is 49. She's 55. She says she's cheating death. "So any time you get the chance to go home, come see me." If you stay there too long, everybody ? thinks you're a millionaire. Two weeks does it for me.