A focus on Michael Quarshie, a top sportsman

A focus on Michael Quarshie, a top sportsman


Today, as I continue with my narration of personalities and their successes as members of the Ghanaian Diaspora in Finland, I focus on Michael Quarshie, a top sportsman of Ghanaian descent and his accomplish­ments.

Michael Quarshie has been a top American football player in Finland, and he started playing at the age of 15. Michael played the sport for 12 years and stopped playing back in 2016 after an injury when he was playing with the then Oakland Raiders, now the Las Vegas Raiders.

Reports described him, with obvious admiration, as an impressive defensive player with a good size and speed.

Early life

Michael was born in Erlangen, Germany to a father originally from Ghana (the retired dentist, Dr Emmanuel Quarshie, who was featured here recently) and a Finnish mother (Dr Tuula H. Quarshie), who were both medical students in Germany.

His parents later moved to Finland after they completed their medical studies. It was in Finland that the young Michael saw a game of American football being played on TV, and he became interested in the sport.

As Michael told me, before then he used to sing in a church choir in Finland, named Cantores Minores.

Early sports life

After he developed interest in the sport, Michael says he signed up with a club in Finland and “totally fell in love with it”, as he put it.

Reports online indicate that although there was no high school football in Finland, Michael played with various teams. In Finland, he played for the Helsinki Roosters from 1994-1999 (https://jenkkifutis.fi/ info/historia/hall-of-fame/ jasenet/), and he led the team to four top-three finishes in the Finnish National League (www. footballfoundation.org).

Michael also played with the Frankfurt Galaxy of the National Football League Europe right out of college and signed with the Oakland Raiders in the US in 2006. He also played with the Porvoo Butchers in Finland.

He left for the United States in 2000, and Michael found a football home there and accomplished so much.

Accomplishments and honours

It is important to recount his accomplishments as part of the success stories of people of Ghanaian descent in Finland in order to highlight their exploits both within the Ghanaian migrant community and in the wider Finnish society.

In 2014, Michael was elected into the Finnish Hall of Fame, a unique achievement. Furthermore, he won gold with the Finnish national youth team in 1997, as well as a silver with the men’s national team in 2001 (https://jenkkifutis.fi/ info/historia/hall-of-fame/ jasenet/).

Michael, who played for the Columbia Lions as he schooled in the USA (Columbia University), also achieved a number of honours there. According to a report in May 2004 on the Columbia Lions website, Michael Quarshie and two others were named to the 2004-05 Arthur Ashe Sports-Scholars Teams in the USA.

According to the report, Michael, who graduated that year with a degree in political science, was a first team All-Ivy defensive tackle for the Columbia Lions. He was named to the National Football Foundation/College Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete team, Academic All-Ivy team and the Division I-AA Academic All-Star team.

Michael was also a team captain and the recipient of the David W. Smyth Memorial Cup, awarded to the Columbia football most outstanding player (see https://gocolumbialions.com/ sports/2018/5/25/1360672).

Another report in November 2004 said the senior defensive tackle, Michael Quarshie, was named to The National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame (NFF) Scholar-Athlete Class.

The report said Quarshie, the Lions team’s co-captain was ranked second in Division I-AA in tackles for a loss that season and was one of 15 players in the nation to earn the distinction. He was “the third-ever Columbia player to be so honoured” at the time, the report disclosed (see, https://gocolumbialions.com/ sports2018/5/28/1360213. aspx).

Life outside sports

A report on the website of the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame also indicates that Michael has been the founder and CEO of the Wellness Foundry, which delivers cutting-edge web and mobile tools to help people eat better and live healthier (see, www.footballfoundation. org). Michael currently lives in Finland with his wife and their children. Thank you!

GHANA MATTERS column appears fortnightly. Written in simple, layman’s terms, it concentrates on matters about Ghana and beyond. It focuses on everyday life issues relating to the social, cultural, economic, religious, political, health, sports, youth, gender, etc. It strives to remind us all that Ghana comes first. The column also takes a candid look at the meanings and repercussions of our actions, especially those things we take for granted or even ignore. There are key Ghanaian values we should uphold rather than disregard with impunity. We should not overlook the obvious. We need to search for the hidden or deeply embedded values and try to project them.

Email: perpetualcrentsil@yahoo.com

By Perpetual Crentsil

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