The fateful announcement popped up on Sammed Bawa’s Facebook page: Right To Dream would soon host a tryout near his native Ashaiman, Ghana.
He was living with his aunt and uncle at the time, who stressed school over soccer, but this was too tantalizing a chance to pass up. After all, the Right To Dream academy has placed more than three dozen Africans into professional soccer. Bawa, with some hesitation, went for it.
"There was nothing to stop me," Bawa said. "I felt like sneaking out of the house was the only way to get into an academy."
At that initial trial, Bawa was one of 20 selected from a pool of more than 300 youngsters. He’d have to travel to Accra, Ghana’s capital city, for another evaluation period.
"I found it hard to go, but I still snuck out and went," Bawa said. "My uncle got really mad at me."
There were more than 500 players there from the Western African nation vying for 21 spots over a three-day period. The competition was stiff, but Bawa was offered a spot. He joined the Right To Dream academy.