The musings of a Mancunian sport loving Muslimah

Yaser Elqutub – The Rising Palestinian American Linebacker

Sporty Muslimah continues with her blog to bring news of Muslims who are breaking barriers to get into mainstream sport.  Yaser el Qutub is a first-generation Arab-American born in Houston, TX.  Yaser is an upcoming star of American Football.  Having won several awards, he has now been forward for the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

Yaser tells his story of how he came into American Football, the charitable works he has done, the strides he is making to become a physician, the important role his family plays and in sight as to why we should vote him.

All action, for Yaser.

Click here to vote for Yaser as the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

Short Background

My name is Yaser Elqutub, I am 22 years old and was born in Houston, TX. My family blessed me with a great life and I have made sure to take advantage of ever opportunity I get.  My current goals are to be a good person, be a leader to my peers, help those around me, and try my best in all that I do. That includes, football, academics, community service, and just being a good person/Muslim.

Not everything I have been blessed with has come easy. Most of my life I have had to earn my recognition. This includes trying out for a division 1 football team and attending the Louisiana Scholars’ College at Northwestern State University

I am proud of my culture and proud to be Arab-American. Most of every award I have ever been honored with, I have been the first Arab or first Muslim to receive them. I would be very honored to be voted captain and represent not only my school, but to show people all over the world that the negative stereotypes of the Arab culture is misleading. I am not afraid to stand up for the right things. I am a pretty humble guy who gets along well with everyone I know. Thank you for reading about me and I hope you reach every goal that God has blessed you with!

What is your favorite memory from football at NSU?

My favorite memory would be playing with my team at the home games and seeing all the NSU Demons fans and the Demon nation coming together. There is a rich tradition at NSU and its been a blessing to have been a part of that. I want to make more memories, such as win the conference and the national championship!

When did you begin playing football? Start taking it serious?

I did not know much about the game of football until 7th grade, and the only reason why I played was because my older brother played. So I literally learned football for the first time in middle school. I was a small and skinny kid with a lot of energy. I ended up playing a big-guy’s postion, offensive lineman for the B-team because I remember the coach telling the team that the lineman are the most important positions on the team!I took it serious when I played in high school.

It was Texas 5-A football and it was ver competitive My older brother is an inspiration for my younger brother and me because he got us into football. Like my older brother, I too was a ‘walk-on’ (tried out for the team) for college football and had to work our way up to starting positions!
 Why did you choose Northwestern State University

I chose NSU for both the Louisiana Scholars’ College program and a chance to try-out for the football team. Plus not many people may know this, but there is a huge and prestigious tradition and history at NSU. I did not have the typical college player recruiting experience because I never received a scholarship or an official recruiting visit to play. The journey was tough and the challenges never seemed to go away. I remember my former position coach telling me that I would never play college football because he did not think I was talented enough. I had to bring my own clothes to train in and share lockers with other players. I also remember feeling humiliated as I sat in the stands watching my team play, because I was not allowed to dress out for the first two years. But I took his words not as a definition of my talents, but as a challenge to improve. I knew that I was going to succeed in both academics and football! And I think I did a pretty good job!

Life can be a funny thing. I came into NSU not looking to receive recognition or all the awards I have been blessed with. I just worked hard in all aspects of my life. That includes academics, football, community service, and just being a good person. I always tell people, “You can never underestimate   the power hard work and patience because it can literally take you anywhere”

Being selected as NSU’s Homecoming King along with the other awards are not just a benefit to me, but also to NSU. I feel like any good thing that I do, the NSU Demons win! I attribute my success to all those who make up such a great university, including student, staff, and alumni! My family and most importantly God had a huge role in my life.

Why did you choose to play American Football?

My older brother Samer Elqutub was the first to play football in our family and I did not learn the game until I tried out for the team in 7th grade.

My older brother is an inspiration for my younger brother and me because he got us into football. Like my older brother, I too was a ‘walk-on’ (tried out for the team) for college football and had to work our way up to starting positions!

When growing up, who was your role model and inspiration?  Which team
did you support?

Family members like my older brother, mother, and several others. I learned my work ethic and how to be a good person/muslim from them. I always loved watching the Houston Rockets, especially with Hakeem Olajuwan playing on the team!

Were there any other sports that you wanted to participate in?

I played basketball for the as long as I can remember, but when you get into a competitive sport like football, most people have to commit to just one sport. In my case it was football.

Apart from playing football at the minute, what other activities do
you partake in (i.e., current education)?

I attend the Louisiana’ Scholars College at Northwestern State University and am a pre-med major. I have participated in several activities shown below:

Alpha Epsilon Delta- President of local Pre-medical Honor Society
Phi Kappa Phi- Member of National Honor Society
Blue Key Honor Society National Honor Society dedicated to community service
SAAC (Student Athletic Academic committee)
Creator and Co-captain of the Demon Dodgeball Club
Employee at University Recruiting
Member of the Islamic Center in Natchitoches, LA

How important a role did your family play in the position you find
yourself in today?

Huge, I thank God everyday for blessing me with my family. I see a lot of myself in them. I get my patience from my dad, my passion from my mom, my athletic work ethic from my older brother, my open mind from my sister, and my inspiration from my little brother. There have been other people who have positively influenced my life and I keep them close in my heart.

Homecoming with the family.

How would you describe your relationship with Islam and it’s role in your success so far?

Islam has been in the core of my characteristics. What keeps me humble is praising God as much as I can. I try to pray as much as I can and even lead prayers at the local masque in the small town of Natchitoches, LA. I am really interested in religion and it comes with no surprise that I love reading the Quran!

It has been difficult being an arab and a muslim on campus, especially when people are not familiar with that culture. But I see it as an opportunity to show Islam in a positive light. So I do see myself as a leader when it comes to that.

 As much difficulty as 9/11 has brought to my life, it also taught me the importance of patience and communication.  I understand that Islam is foreign to most people. I also realize that many patients will not understand the human body or medicine in the same way doctors do. Therefore, as a physician, I must communicate a foreign language and a foreign culture to my patients.  My goal will be to make patients comfortable with the strange world of the hospital, just as I have explained Islam to my peers.

 A unique view by Yaser on the 9/11 atrocities – 10 years later.

 What dreams and aspirations do you have for the future, where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I have a joke I tell everyone about what I am going to do for my future plans. I tell people that Plan-A is going to medical school and Plan-B is trying out for the NFL; so just in case Plan-B doesn’t work out, I still have Plan-A!

I am serious about both and currently applying to medical schools in Texas. I plan on being a general physician one day, so anyone who is looking for a doctor, come see me!

What motivates you to be the person you are and want to become?

I realize that God has blessed me and I feel like its my duty to give back to others around me. I also have this philosophy of trying my best in all that I do, whether it be academics, sports, community service, or just being a good person!

Can you give a brief description or your best performance and result. 

The overall best performance was the honor of being awarded All-Conference Linebacker for the Southland Conference

Performing at your best, always.

What advice would you give to a young sports enthusiast who dreams of becoming a professional player?

Never underestimate the power of hard work and patience!

Why do you feel there is such a lack of Muslim talent in mainstream sport, not just in America, but across the world when you consider the Muslim population?

Well the mainstream sports have not been a part of Muslim or Arab culture until recently. The Arab culture is big on soccer for example, but not basketball, football, etc.

As a Palestinian, how do you use your role to highlight the issue that
our brothers and sisters are suffering?
I really try to spread awareness to those around me. That may come through social media or by word of mouth. The difficulty in spreading awareness is the relativity and the fact that many people stereotype cultures based on a few negative aspects they see on T.V. But what many fail to realized, and I help make them aware, is that a group of religious extremist do not speak for the rest of the world. Also I explain the situations that our brothers and sisters are put in and explain why it is they are doing what they see on T.V

Why should the American people and American Football supporters vote for you?

Well I see it as an honor to be a part of the AFCS Allstate Good Works Team and my motive for winning is to put Northwestern State on a
national spot light because this university deserves the recognition. Just because we are a smaller university, it does not mean we have a lesser program or lesser students. Northwestern State University has plenty of hard working and courageous students who deserve to be recognized amongst the bigger schools.

I know I can be a great captain of the 22-man team because community service runs in my veins. I love volunteering and hae committed my life to it as well! Plus it is also an honor to be representing so many people in this poll.

Should you win this vote, what plans do you have?

To put Northwestern State University on a national spotlight and show how NSU and the Southland Conference have some of the finest student-athletes in the nation. As far as community service, I will continue to do so for the rest of my life!

List of Awards:

Some of the awards I have been honored besides the recent AFCA Allstate Good Works team includes

Football awards:

Elected Demon Deacon, Special Teams, and Defensive Captain

13th annual Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors

Association Academic All-Star Team

ESPN Academic All-District 6 Football team

Southland Conference Commissioner’s Fall Academic Honor Roll

Chris Waddell Award (Walk-on of the Year Award)

Kurt Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship

Gary Reasons Award

Highest Team Cumulative GPA

Honorable Mention All-Conference Linebacker

Southland Conference Classroom Champion of the Week

Student-Athlete of the Month

Steve McCarty Citizenship Award, Newman Civic Fellow Award, and more

 List of Voluntary Work

I have done several community service events, more than I can even count! Some of the most special ones include starting and heading a weeks worth of events called Samaritan’s Feet. The events included attempting to break a world record for the largest dodgeball game played at once. All the donations and shoes that were collected were given to Samaritan’s Feet to aid shoeless children in parts of Africa.

Other volunteer services include spending close to 100 hours at the local boys and girls club. I helped children with their homework, played sports with them, and just listened to what they had to say.

Here is just a few other services I have participated in: Alzheimer’s Awareness Walk, Green NSU City-Wide Clean Up, March of Dimes Fundraiser, Chris Waddell Day, Up Til’ Dawn, Athletic Day at Weaver Elementary, Doves Spring Cloths Drive, have lunch with elementary students, and more!

Recent Award Nomination

Click here to vote for Yaser as the 2011 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

You can find Yaser on Facebook, a massive collection of images from American Football matches.

Follow Yaser on Twitter – @Yaserelqutub

A unique view by Yaser on the 9/11 atrocities – 10 years later.

Breaking Barriers in American Football

3 responses to “Yaser Elqutub – The Rising Palestinian American Linebacker

  1. Sophia October 8, 2011 at 1:55 am

    Awesome!! He’s an inspiration to many!! Shukran Ikteer SportyMuslimah

  2. Hany Elqutub October 8, 2011 at 4:06 am

    Braise the lord Allah, Alhamdulillah, god bless you and keep you as a defender for all human kind, not just your people, we believe that if you save a one life , just like saving the whole humanity , and one should always think of what he did for his country not what his country did to him , keep up the good world my boy- Allah yerda Alek ( Good Bless You )
    Hany Elqutub – Yaser’s Dad

  3. Yaser October 10, 2011 at 5:34 am

    Thank you very much for the post! God bless!!!

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