Freed-Hardeman men’s soccer player Nassar Ssempa was honored April 27 at the Sports Advisory Council Benefit as the 2017 Charlie Smith Heart of a Lion Award recipient.
Ssempa, a midfielder from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, joined the Lion soccer program five games into the season his freshman year. After his arrival, however, he rarely came off the field for the remainder of his career. He was a fixture on the field during the 2014 season, starting all 15 matches and using his energy to start scoring runs from his spot in center midfield. During his junior campaign, Ssempa started 14 matches and attempted six shots and three shots on goal.
He capped off his career with the Lions by taking first team all-conference honors at the midfield position. “Nassar has a wonderful attitude and is highly respected by everyone who knows him,” FHU Athletic Director Mike McCutchen said.
“He very much deserves this award.”
Jason Elliott, head coach for the Lion soccer program, said Ssempa deserved the honor because of his strong work ethic on and off the field.“Nassar has been an example for all of us to follow,” Elliott said. “His work ethic has been remarkable during his time here. Whether it is by the countless hours he spends on and off the field to improve, his positive attitude while greeting everyone with a smile or his relentless pursuit of his goals, I know he has left his mark on all of us. We have all been blessed to have him at Freed-Hardeman and look forward to seeing the great things he will do in the future.”
The Charlie Smith Heart of a Lion Award is given annually to an FHU senior athlete who has demonstrated qualities of courage, determination, hard work, exemplary performance and service to others. Athletes are nominated and selected by the FHU intercollegiate athletics staff. Ssempa is the 15th student athlete to be honored with the Heart of a Lion Award.