Sierra Leone's "Boxi" finds a home in Reno

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Meet Dembakwi Yomba, better known as "Boxi."

Prior to joining 1868 FC, Boxi spent time with the United States Youth National teams, including U-20, but Boxi is originally from Sierra Leone and moved to the United States when the country was in civil war.

"Originally we moved to another African country called Gambia cause the war happened, the outbreak, it was real quick. The rebels came into the capital and that's where we were living, so you have to make a decision quick for you and your family," said Boxi.

And while Boxi gets to live out his dream playing professional soccer, the opportunity almost never happened.

"We took a ferry that was meant for 200 people and there were about 450 people and we took a ferry from Sierra Leone to Gambia, the neighboring country and I remember my parents telling me the boat almost overturned several times because the weight wasn't sufficient enough," said Boxi.

Boxi's family ended up moving to Atlanta as refugees and is glad to have a place in Reno with 1868.

"It was about me being in a place that I was comfortable and a place that I knew people were looking out for me, so I felt that from the first day I came here," Boxi said.

"Lots of potential with Boxi, he's got really good speed, strength, good feet, makes good runs, so I think there's a pretty good future for him," added Reno coach Ian Russell.

And at 20 years of age, being the youngest player on the team is something Boxi takes in stride.

"It's one of those things where you're the youngest player everyone kind of looks out for you and I love it."