By Ian Perrotta
Before last Saturday (Nov. 3), most people had never heard of Frontier International Academy. It only took 90 minutes to change that.
The school’s unranked soccer team stunned No. 8 Grand Rapids Covenant Christian, beating the Chargers 3-2 in the Division 4 final to become state champions. It was only the third year Frontier International has participated in the sport.
Frontier International took an early lead two minutes into the game and never looked back. The team was up 1-0 after the first half junior midfielder Mujeeb Nahshal scored his sixth goal of the season with an assist from senior forward Baleegh Algahim.
In the second half, the Knights sealed the deal by scoring two more goals in rapid succession. Both goals came from Algahim, who scored on an assist from Nahshal and then two minutes later with a head shot. Algahim finished the season with 25 goals total.
Along with its explosive offense, the team’s defense also played a big role in the championship game. Grand Rapids was held at bay throughout much of the match, and even when they managed to shoot the ball goalkeeper Ammar Abdullah saved 12 of 14 shots.
Though the Grand Rapids team put up a good fight, Frontier had already faced much stiffer competition from other teams in earlier playoff rounds. The Knights beat five top-ten teams before making it to the championship, including No. 1-ranked Lansing Christian in the regional finals.
With an impressive run like that, it’s safe to say the upstart team from Hamtramck will not go unnoticed next year. The squad will remain mostly intact — only four members will be lost to graduation — and according to Frontier International Athletic Director Mohammed Alasanai, the JV team is full of talent.
“We had a great season this year,” said Alasanai. “And we expect to be competitive next season, too.”