DEARBORN — Like many kids growing up in America from Middle Eastern families, Nores Fradi began his athletic career as a soccer player.
Fradi signs scholarship to Central Michigan University for football. Photo courtesy of Dearborn High School
Fradi, a senior at Dearborn High School who will head to Central Michigan University to play football for the Chippewas, the top team in the state last year, shook off the doubters and proclaimed that he would earn a scholarship for football early in his career. His peers weren't buying it.
"My freshman year everyone was doubting me and said I would never do it," he said. "But I wanted to prove the whole city wrong and at the same time I wanted to do it for Dearborn.
"Now, I feel like I have everyone's respect."
That respect had to be earned, through working out hard six days a week and studying for hours in the film room.
"I used to train hard every day and then people started to realize why I was doing it," he said. "All of a sudden my body got bigger and I got faster and people started to realize, 'Wow, he just might do it.'"
Fradi, whose family moved to the U.S. from Baghdad when he was three, became a football fan with the help of his brother Asaad, who is now 22.
The brothers watched college and pro football together with friends and learned the intricacies of the game.
Fradi's parents Fatma and Ahmad weren't able to get into it, until they started coming to Fradi's games, that is.
"During my freshman year they came sometimes and they watched me get better and better; then by junior year they started coming to most of my games," Fradi said.
"When I first started playing they thought I was going to get hurt and they saw me coming home tired and beat up but eventually they liked it and started watching it a lot."
The entire Fradi family couldn't hold back the smiles when they found out Nores had earned a full ride to CMU last year, where he plans to study criminal justice. Fradi committed to Central Michigan last September, alowing him to focus on getting ready for college life.
The now 6-foot-1, 210-pound outside linebacker finished his impressive three-year high school career the right way for the Pioneers, notching 101 tackles in eight games while rushing for 587 yards and 4 touchdowns as a running back along with two receiving touchdowns. Working in tandem with fellow three-year starter Nabih Saad while orchestrating the defense, Fradi set the school record at Dearborn for his career with 313 tackles.
He also made both the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News All-State Dream Teams.
"Nores played with passion and a great deal of intensity," said Dearborn head coach David Mifsud about Fradi.
"He is very competitive and his strong desire to succeed will make him a success at CMU."
But despite the hype and the accolades, Fradi knows he will have to work hard and prove himself all over again in college.
Central Michigan made a coaching change after the season, hiring former Michigan State running backs coach Dan Enos after former coach Butch Jones left for Cincinnati. But luckily for Fradi, Enos had already known him from several football camps and had hoped earlier that he would attend Michigan State.
"He was pretty happy when he found out I was still committed to Central," Fradi said.
Fradi's family feels the same way and are excited to watch him play for one of the best up-and-coming football programs in the Midwest.
Fradi thanked his brother, his position coach at Dearborn, Jeff Stergalas, and his parents for sticking with him and encouraging him to pursue his dream.
"My mom and dad have been big supporters, they've done a great job taking care of me," Fradi said.
"Once I explained to them the rules they started understanding American football more here and there. They've been big supporters, they've put in a lot of effort, and I know they'd do anything for me."