EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 3, 2012

Finding friendship on the 50-yard line

China native Kuiye 'Will' Du finds unlikely home on Central Catholic football team

LAWRENCE — Growing up on the other side of the world, Kuiye “Will” Du had barely heard of the game of football just three short months ago.

“They don’t have football on TV in China,” said Du. “I had seen a couple of movies with football in it, like ‘Forrest Gump,’ but I really didn’t know anything about the game.”

So Du certainly would never have expected that, just months after arriving in America from his native China, he would become a beloved member of the red-hot Central Catholic football team.

“Will has been a real breath of fresh air because he is so enthusiastic and loves to be here,” said Raiders coach Chuck Adamopoulos. “He is so enthusiastic and is as dedicated as anyone to this program.”

Growing up in Northwest China, Du had long dreamed of coming to America to attend school.

“America is a great place to go to high school,” said Du, who speaks English impressively. “There are more opportunities for a better education and I wanted to learn about the different culture. Central really seemed like a great place.”

He found that perfect fit in Central Catholic’s International Student program, which Adamopoulos said has gained a great deal of popularity.

“We have a very large group of international students,” said Adamopoulos. “The students come here and live with host families. They pay tuition, go to school and go home for the summer. Then they come back in the fall.”

Du arrived in America for the first time in August, and quickly found his new surroundings very foreign.

“Everything is so different here,” he said. “The culture, the language, the food, the people. It’s so different just walking down the halls at school. We started learning English when we were in elementary school, but I didn’t really pay attention until I got to high school.

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