Athlete of the Issue: Louisa Essuman ’20

Louisa Essuman ’20 is a four-year Senior and member of the Girls Varsity Soccer and Girls Junior Varsity Basketball teams. Sadie Gould ’20 said, “Louisa brings a lot of creativity to the field and is very fun to watch [and] play with. She has amazing foot skills and speed that really set her apart from other players. Also, she is great at finishing and will be a big part of our offense this year.”
What are some of the team’s goals for this season?
One of the biggest goals for our team this year is to play for each other. Over the past couple of years, we have tried to do that, but we want it to be more apparent on and off the field. We’ve lost major games against Choate and Loomis over the past couple of years, and we are looking forward to winning [this year]. We want to be better than we were, so we are trying to change some of the tactics that we [have] used [in] the past.
This season, our coaches have emphasized fitness. [The team] works out a lot, which is hard, but that’s what we need to play at the highest level, [which] a lot of us on the team are looking forward to doing.
Do you think the school’s soccer has improved over the years you’ve been here?
Yes, I think it really has. It has changed, but we still do the same traditional stuff of helping each other out when it comes to schoolwork, and we’ve kept that culture alive, which says a lot. We don’t only play for ourselves, we play for the people who played before us and the people who are going to play in the future.
We got to the [New England] semi-finals two years ago, and we [have] not gotten to that level in a very long time. We are growing and becoming more powerful in the community, in New England, and the U.S. I won All-American twice in a row, which has not been done by any other [soccer] athlete at this school. I think some of us are putting Hotchkiss on the map, which is a good thing.
Where do you think soccer will take you in the future?
Well, soccer has taken me to my future already. Without soccer, I wouldn’t be at Hotchkiss. I went through a very terrible public school [in Ghana]; I played in the streets all the time, and then someone recognized me and said, “Hey, do you want to try out for this soccer academy?” And that’s what got me [to] Right to Dream [Academy]. Playing soccer there and also going to school is what got me a scholarship to come here.
Looking into the future, I’m going to be going to the University of Tennessee for soccer; it’s Division I and top 10 in the nation [for soccer]. It’s going to be competitive, [but] that’s what I want. I want to play professional soccer after college, but I don’t want to look too far ahead into the future. I’m not injured, I’m still healthy, and every day is a new adventure. I’m excited about the future and I’m excited about what’s coming, but honestly, when I look into my future right now, I don’t even look past graduating from Hotchkiss. I’m looking at the practice I have this afternoon and how excited I am and how well I want to do.
Who inspires you on your team?
My teammates inspire me. Sofia [Weber ’20], Sadie [Gould ’20], Gigi [Day ’22], and Fati [Salifu ’22] inspire me. When I see my teammates going hard on the field, I know it’s because they want to make the program better and they want to better themselves. For me, that’s inspiring. I love watching my friends’ highlights tapes, because I want to see how they play and if there’s anything in their game that I can add to my [own].
[Coach] Christy Cooper inspires me. She pushes me to be better every single day. Even when I think I had a great game she’s like, “You could’ve worked harder.” She knows that I have the potential to be one of the best athletes that Hotchkiss has ever produced, and that’s what I want.
You inspire me. You’re interviewing me, and I don’t see myself as an “Athlete of the Issue.” Me being around people who do what they love and seeing people trying to connect with other people is inspiring, because we live in a world where there’s a lot of division and so being around people who love rather than hate and who inspire other people with whatever they do is my inspiration.
How has your recent visit to Ghana inspired you for this upcoming season?
For me, it’s always great to be back home, because it humbles me and inspires me in every way possible. For example, [when] I went to my old club, I played with the girls, and I remember [that] growing up I was the only girl who played soccer in -five towns. Soccer has always been a popular sport in Ghana, but seeing more females playing the sport is inspiring. It makes me want to do more. It inspires me to keep going, because it’s not easy to live in a foreign country where a lot of things are not familiar. Anytime I go back home, my people are so encouraging and they say, “We know you’re going to get this done. We know it’s hard for you living away from home, but you have to know that you’re not only doing this for yourself, you’re doing this for the whole community, because people look up to you.” Every time that a little girl or a person comes up to me and says, “Can you sign my shirt for me?” or “I look up to you,” that humbles me and makes me so happy. I never had that growing up, and I didn’t have another girl to look up to, so being the face for people inspires me, and it humbles me.