The Caribbean is a sprinting mecca, of that there is no doubt. Other sports, such as football (soccer) and cricket are popular as well. Still, there are other sports which are less popular but are widely played. Basketball is one such sport. Even though basketball is not as popular in the Caribbean, there are many great ballers that have emerged from the region. Sophia Yvonne Ashley Young born December 15, 1983 on the Island of Saint Vincent is one of them.
Sophia is a Saint Vincentian professional women's basketball player with the San Antonio Silver Stars in the WNBA. Though she was born in St Vincent, Young moved to the United States at a young age. She attended the Evangel Christian Academy in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA.
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Having dominated and stamped her class in high school, Sophia continued playing basketball in college. She was an All-American at Baylor University where she helped lead her team, nicknamed the Lady Bears, to defeat Michigan State University and win their first National Championship in 2005.
Young was the only active player to be named to the five person Big 12 10th Anniversary Team. She did so well that she became one of only four women in NCAA history to score 2,000 points, grab 1,000 rebounds, collect 300 steals, as well as dish out 300 assists. She accomplished numerous other feats as well and copped numerous awards for her brilliant efforts.
Her other achievements include being named to the Big 12 Championship All-Tournament team, being crowned USBWA All-American for two years straight, Big 12 Player of the Week (three time), etc. Notably, Sophia did well in academics as well, maintaining an above average GPA and balancing her sport with other activities.
In 2006, Young was selected as the fourth overall pick for the WNBA Draft by the San Antonio Silver Stars. Since she was still a rookie, she was named to the Western Conference WNBA All-Star team. During the first leg of the WNBA season Young has averaged 16.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game for the San Antonio Silver Stars.
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Twenty one finalists were named for the U.S. Women’s Olympic Basketball Team, and Young’s name was on the roster. The team was selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee and included professional women’s basketball payers. This gave Sophia the chance to represent the US and by extension the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Islands at the London 2012 Olympics. Her team did exceptionally well and their efforts were highly appreciated as the USA won gold in London
Sophiaâ€™s career is momentous not necessarily because of her achievements in and of themselves, but her achievements are important because they represent the product of the hard work and dedication of a Caribbean girl. She dominated in a non-traditional sport and did so with grace, sportsmanship, determination and resilience.
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In her resolve to find her purpose Sophia donates a lot of her time to Roy Maas Youth Alternatives Inc., a charitable organization committed to helping kids to have a better life.
“My reason for making this my charity is to help continue what this program is doing. I want to help teens get a chance to achieve their dreams and provide opportunities where they can live a successful happy life. Please help me help these kids. Together we can make a difference in their lives” States Young. “I commend Roy Maas for starting this organization and giving kids a place where they can feel safe. It is so important for these kids to realize that what they go through at home (referring to abusive situations) is not normal but that they can change their course and make a difference with their lives.”
Young’s achievements stand to spur on the aspirations of young girls to strive for the best, to think big and to strive for their dreams knowing that they are achievable. Not only is this important for the personal development of young ladies across the Caribbean, but in the development of less traditional and non-traditional sports around the globe as well. With this kind of hard work and belief in self, sports in the Caribbean will soon become as diverse as the cultures of the people that live in the region.