ECNL AYW SPOTLIGHT – ABBY BISHARA by Joana Bromley
RICHMOND, VA (March 20, 2019) – As we continue through the ECNL’s tenth season, the Amazing Young Women movement celebrates females that have helped shape the league into the top development platform in the world. As a part of this movement, inspiring females across the country have offered to share their stories. Today we are honored to feature Abby Bishara as the ECNL Amazing Young Women Spotlight of the Week.
Bishara is an enthusiastic 14-year-old with an itch to impact lives both on and off the soccer field. She is a technically savvy center midfielder on the Western New York Flash (WNY Flash) ECNL U15 team, as well as a biomechanics prodigy inspired to make the game a bit safer for all athletes. ECNL Director, Kelsey Ferguson, spoke highly of Bishara, “Abby is an incredibly committed and hardworking player, student, and young lady. She is socially active in her community on many levels, helping those less fortunate than her, and also looking for opportunities to advance safety in soccer through her interest in concussion awareness.”
Bishara lives in Clarence Center, New York, a town on the western side of the state. She is entering her 3rd season in the ECNL, and 5th year playing for WNY Flash. “I have always felt happiest with a ball at my feet, rain or shine. When I am on the field, it is just me, my teammates, and the ball; I don’t have to worry about anything else,” Bishara expressed about her love for the game. After a few years playing for her town team, she decided to make the transition to play for WNY Flash. “When I made the transition to WNY Flash it was a completely different level of soccer, and significantly more competitive. It was an important decision in my soccer career, and I am happy with my choice to join the club,” she reflects about her move.
Bishara plays an integral role on her WNY Flash team as a center midfielder. This position suites her perfectly, “She is tactically smart, technical, diligent, and a remarkable leader,” adds Ferguson. “I like being able to play everywhere and impact all areas of the field, contributing both offensively and defensively in big ways,” added Bishara about her role on the field. She attributes much of her success on the pitch to the encouraging staff stating, “WNY Flash creates an environment where everyone is pushing each other and making each other better every day. They help you identify what you need to work on, not by telling you ways to improve, but by showing you. This has really elevated the way I approach soccer.”
Bishara is diligent both on and off the soccer field. She is class president and started her own Service Club at her school, where her and several other students volunteer within their community. “I think it is really important to give back and encourage young people to improve the world around them, starting with their hometown,” elaborates Bishara about her community work. She talked about some of her favorite volunteer moments including going to local nursing homes to make cookies during the holidays, and decorating caps with the kids at the children’s hospital. Even more, Bishara is a passionate innovator. “I have always enjoyed building and fixing things. Growing up, technology was all around. I was constantly being exposed to new technology which inspired me to want to create something of my own.” This marked the beginning of Bishara’s journey towards combining her love for soccer and biomechanics.
During 6th and 7th grade Bishara created what is now known as CORONA, a sensory headband that allows you to capture information on the impact and quantity of physical contact to the athlete throughout a game. “I did some research and found out that concussions were a problem, especially amongst female athletes,” Bishara said about her exploration into concussions.
Bishara became involved in ProjectCSGirls, a group of passionate middle school girls who have an interest in S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering, and math). After submitting her design to a local competition and winning the popular vote, she realized that there was an audience for her invention. She proceeded to submit her design in a national contest and became a semi-finalist. With the help of a few students at the University of Buffalo, Bishara took time between her 7th and 8th grade year to improve her design. She resubmitted CORONA, became a finalist, and had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. to compete against other finalists. Bishara hopes to patent her invention stating, “My grandpa was a big part in my love for biomechanics and engineering. He used to work for a local company and create patents for new designs, just like CORONA.”
Bishara is optimistic that her story and adoration for S.T.E.M. will inspire others, “I hope that others combine what they are passionate for like I did; find something you love and find a way that you can improve that thing. This is how I created CORONA and how others can create new ideas.” She believes that you don’t need a degree to make an impact, “It is important that people know that you don’t have to go through college to create something special and change the world around you,” expressed Bishara.
We are excited to share Abby Bishara’s success both on and off the pitch. She sincerely displays what is means to be an Amazing Young Women and we are excited to watch her progress as a soccer player and innovator. We wish her the best of luck in her 2018-19 ECNL season and the rest of her soccer journey!
About Girls Elite Clubs National League: The Girls Elite Clubs National League (Girls ECNL) was founded in 2009 to enhance the developmental experience of female youth soccer players in the United States through: (i) improving the competitive environment through creation of a true national competitive league; (ii) improving the process for identifying elite female soccer players through a systematic scouting and identification program based on national competitions; and (iii) improving the daily training environment at top female youth soccer clubs through developing best practices and training and organizational guidelines for its member clubs. The ECNL is sanctioned by US Club Soccer and is sponsored by Nike Soccer.