The outcome didn’t matter. The Todd Beamer High School girls soccer team had already secured a 4A state tournament berth.
Not that Ameera Hussen cared. She played like she always does, barreling into defenders and the ball in a seeding match against Curtis as if the Titans’ season was on the line.
But her physicality betrayed her that night. She tore her medial collateral ligament when she collided with two Curtis players and was out the next five months — including Beamer’s ensuing match in the first round of state against Gonzaga Prep.
“She’s a beast,” said Titans coach Joel Lindberg, who also coaches Beamer’s boys soccer team in the spring. “She’s so tough. She’s so hardcore. People back down from her.
“And this girl can hit the ball harder than most of the guys on my guys’ team.”
Would she start on his boys team?
“She would,” Lindberg said with a laugh.
“But my guys would not appreciate me saying that.”
Hussen enters her fourth year starting for the Titans. She entered the program with an exceptional knowledge of the game, having played since before she can remember.
The thing that stands out to me is the moments she took on players and got a ball with that extra effort. You didn’t think she could get to it, but she gets to it. And not only did she get to it, but she beats that player and another two players on the way and fires a shot.
Todd Beamer coach Joel Lindberg
Her father, Abdella Hussen, introduced her to soccer. He played the sport in Africa while living in Eritrea and Sudan. He’s now a coach with Seattle United.
Ameera has trouble sometimes understanding her father when he’s speaking in Tigrinya or Arabic. So she said she keeps a book to help her.
But soccer? That was much easier to understand for her and her three siblings.
Her older brother, Hassani Dotson, is a sophomore midfielder on the Oregon State men’s soccer team, the same position Ameera plays for Beamer. She has a ninth-grade brother and an eight-year-old sister who she said are also very good.
“My little brother beat me the other day,” Ameera said. “I was really upset.”
Ameera had committed to Ohio State, but recently decommitted and is considering her options. She said her goal to play for the U.S. national team eventually and in the Northwest Women’s Soccer League.
“It’s been my dream since I was little girl to play for the national team,” Hussen said. “Watching Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan and watching the team evolve from when I was younger to today, I hope to be a part of that. I just got to keep working until I get there.”
She considered not playing for Beamer this year.
The injury to her left knee shook her confidence. It’s that aggressiveness that makes her so successful, but she didn’t want to get hurt again and cost her the chance of playing at the next level.
Maddie Landreth has been Ameera’s teammate since they were on varsity as freshmen, but she’s also played against her with Washington Premier. Hussen plays with Crossfire Academy.
“We only played against each other like one actual game, but it was real intense,” said Landreth, who will play at Pacific Lutheran University next year. “It was a physical battle. She’s very aggressive.
Some people think I’m on the field a beast. Off the field people are like ‘Oh, she’s rude, oh she meant to do that.’ The biggest one is, ‘Oh, she thinks she’s the best player ever.’
Todd Beamer midfielder Ameera Hussen
Lindberg said he didn’t want to persuade Ameera one way or the other on playing for Beamer this season.
“I said, ‘If you choose not to play, I will still support you, I will still be your biggest fan, I’ll come see you in college,’ ” Lindberg said. “ ‘But it’s all your decision.’ ”
She eventually decided she didn’t want to miss the opportunity to finally be a captain her senior year, alongside Landreth. Nor miss the opportunity to get back to state and play in the match that saw her relegated to the bench last year.
“I was really battling, ‘Should I play? Should I not play?’ ” Ameera said. “But then I was like ‘Why not? I’m not going to let this thing stop me. I think it’s just how stubborn I am.”
She called Lindberg only a few weeks before the start of the season, she said.
He played it cool at first. But when he hung up the phone he said he started pumping his fist in the air and dancing.
“Then I was calling all my friends, like ‘Hey, Ameera’s back!’ ” Lindberg said.
“I highlight her because she’s so good. But it’s not all about her. Some of the growth she gets coming out here is to allow other people to be raised up beside her. That’s one of my biggest pushes for her this year is that she build others up around her. She’s LeBron James for us right now. I want her to be Michael Jordan.”
Hussen scored 18 goals with seven assists last season. She’s scored 44 goals with 12 assists for her career.
Federal Way coach Jason Baumgardt is one of her coaches at Crossfire Academy. Her brother played there, too.
“Her technical skills — she’s very good with the ball and her soccer IQ is really high,” Baumgardt said. “She is very strong, very athletic, very good distributor — she’ll be a handful when we have to play her.”
Said Kentwood coach Aaron Radford: “She’s the engine that makes that team go. I can see her scoring a goal and then running all the way to the back line to defend the team’s best player. Teams will have to figure out how to contain her.”
Her aggressive play reminds Lindberg of another of his former players — Holland Cook, who went on to play at Arizona State after graduating from Beamer in 2010.
“The thing that stands out to me is the moments she took on players and got a ball with that extra effort. You didn’t think she could get to it, but she gets to it,” Lindberg said. “And not only did she get to it, but she beats that player and another two players on the way and fires a shot.
“Like I said – she’s like LeBron James. She is. She can single-handedly change the game.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677