Picture courtesy Hofstra Athletic Communications
Hofstra women’s soccer junior forward Salma Tarik has moved around plenty in her life from Egypt to East Meadow, out west to California and back east to Bellmore. Hofstra head coach Simon Riddiough is sure happy she has decided to make Hofstra the home for her women’s soccer career as the transfer from Cal State Northbridge has been the Pride’s leading scorer since returning to Long Island.
Entering 2009 Coach Riddiough knew he had a solid defensive foundation but was concerned if there would be enough offense. The Cairo, Egypt native has certainly helped provide that with nine goals and four assists, which has has helped pace Hofstra (9-4-2, 6-1-1) into first place during the Colonial Athletic Association’s home stretch of the season with three games remaining.
After not starting right away her first season at Hofstra, Tarik took it upon herself to work extra hard in the summer playing with the Los Angeles Legends of the W-League. “If I didn’t play in that league or train on my own this year would be a lot different,” said Tarik, who ended up leading the Pride in scoring with six goals last year despite being on the bench to start the season.
When Tarik arrived at Hofstra last year she re-united with childhood friend and Pride forward Courtney Breen, who she competed against in youth soccer for the East Meadow Dynamite. The two former East Meadow youth players teamed up to both tally goals in Hofstra’s 2-1 win at Princeton on Sept. 4.
Just prior to entering Hofstra in 2008, Tarik earned an abundance of experience going up against the best women’s soccer players in the U.S and internationally including have a chance to compete with the Egyptian national team during World Cup qualifying. Her experience going back to Egypt, where she lived until she was six, was particularly special for Tarik, who re-united with 25 family members on the trip. “It was just crazy because I never knew I had so much family there,” said Tarik, who hopes to compete professionally upon graduation and continue to play for her native country.
Tarik has also gotten an emotional lift this season from her mother Debra, who has attended every home game after not being able to see her daughter play last year while she was sick with ulcer pains. “It is great to have her out there because she hadn’t seen me play since high school,” said Tarik, whose mother lives 10 minutes from Hofstra in Bellmore and was the main driver behind her decision to relocate her college soccer career from Southern California to Long Island.
Tarik has also received a morale boost from her boyfriend, who moved from his home in California to the the New York City area last year and has attended everyone of his girlfriend's home game as well as many road matches in Virginia.
Tarik’s decision to transfer to Hofstra is just the latest of many moves she has faced since first moving from Egypt to East Meadow at age six. It is this most recent move by Tarik that could go a long way toward Hofstra advancing to the NCAA College Cup for the first time in two years.