The month of February is recognized each year in America as Black History Month, making it the perfect time to spotlight one of soccer’s most notable African American players, Eddie Hawkins.
Hawkins was born in the booming soccer town of Washingtonville, New York, the youngest of 12 children. Playing the midfield, he viewed soccer as his ticket to college early on.
His performance as an All-American high school player caught the attention of the National American Soccer League and he was drafted in 1980 by the Washington Diplomats. Hawkins instead opted to attend Hartwick College, earning a bachelor's degree in Management and Economics and building his legacy as one of the leading goal and point scorers in the school’s history. He would later be inducted into the Hartwick Athletics Hall of Fame.
Hawkins went on to become the first U.S.-born African American soccer player to earn a cap with the United States, setting the tone for diversity in the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team and leading the way for countless others.
Despite his international success as a soccer player, Hawkins remained focused on a career in the business world, working for the likes of IBM, Kraft Foods, and Exxon Chemical over the years.
In 2006, Hawkins came full circle by founding the Zen Soccer School in Chicago, where he continues his investment and development in future generations of soccer. His training academy is geared to youth soccer players ages 7 to 17 and offers private training, player evaluations and online tutorials to more than 250 players.