Reporter, Erica Courtney
Ranked number one in class B, the Elkhorn South varsity football team has been successful at maintaining their undefeated status for two consecutive seasons, the last season ending with a state championship title. Despite the hard work the players put in, it is clear that the team could not do it without the close bonds they have with each other.
“We have a lot of outstanding players that are really invested. They’ve realize that the team [is] the most important thing and they’re not worried about their own personal statistics,” head football coach Guy Rosenberg said. “It’s a pretty powerful force when you have a bunch of talented guys working hard for a common cause.”
Junior Moses Bryant, the starting running back, is one player in particular who has left a lasting impact on the team since joining three years ago.
“I think [Moses] has been one of the big keys to our success due to his humbleness. He’s always the first guy to give credit to his teammates, it’s never about him,” Rosenberg said.
At football camp the summer before his freshman year, Moses proved to his coaches that he had the potential to be an important asset to the varsity football team. After playing two games on varsity, he was asked to be on the starting lineup.
“At first I was really nervous because I didn’t know the plays that well, but the coaches told me that I needed to believe in myself,” Moses said.
Moses was first introduced to the game of football during the fall of third grade, about three months after moving to The United States. He had never seen a football in his life, but he caught on to the game quickly and he soon began to play a level up with his older brother Danny.
“Moses was an amazing soccer player because that is the number one sport in the area he lived in Africa,” his mother Diana Bryant said. “All the boys wanted to be soccer players when they grew up.”
Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Moses lived with his biological father after his biological mother died when he was two. When his father could no longer take care of him, Moses was taken to the All As One orphanage in Freetown at age four. About five months later, his future family began the lengthy process to bring him to the United States.
Initially it was Moses’s older sister Melissa who first brought up the idea of adoption to their parents. After weeks of browsing several different adoption agency websites, Diana came across Moses and instantly felt a connection.
“I immediately just felt something for him,” Diana said. “He was the first kid that made me stop and think, should we really do this?”
After consulting with her husband and their four other children, it was settled: they were going to proceed with the adoption. Unfortunately for them, the adoption process was not easy. After a year of background checks, home inspections, paperwork and thousands of dollars in fees, the Bryants were told that the United States had shut down all adoptions in Sierra Leone due to child trafficking.
“The liaison for the orphanage who was in the [United States] said we just had to wait,” Diana said.
Eventually the ban was lifted, but they went on to find out that now in order to adopt from Sierra Leone, you had to be a resident for six months.
“The liaison said they were working in Freetown to get the law changed, but this went on for another year,” Diana said.
While waiting for the law to be changed, Diana and her husband, Darrell, had to go through another year of background checks, home inspections, and fees.
“After the two and a half year mark, I started calling and writing letters to our then senator, Lee Terry, and consulates in Freetown and Senegal. I also wrote a letter to the head of Children’s Affairs in Washington,” Diana said.
Three and a half years after beginning the adoption process they came in contact with a lawyer in Freetown who explained that there was no need for them to wait for the residency law to change in order to continue with the adoption. Three months later they had a court date.
“Darrell and I went to Africa, stayed there for ten days, [and] we were granted the adoption,” Diana said.
Despite being granted the adoption, the Bryants were not able to return home with their son right away.
“The United States consulate had to do an investigation to make sure my biological dad wanted me to be adopted,” Moses said.
While the investigation usually takes six months to a year, Moses’s parents were in constant contact with their consulate so they were able to come to Africa to get him four months later.
“I was awoken in the middle of the night by one of the orphanage workers. He put me on the back of his motorcycle and we traveled to a ferry which took us across a body of water to the airport,” Moses said. “We then flew to Senegal, Africa where we met my new dad. We were there for a few days getting all the paperwork together to travel to the US.”
These days, Moses may be referred to as one of the best high school football players in the state. While he gets a lot of attention for his accomplishments, he makes sure that he never gets too full of himself.
“Not many kids can go from a third world country and come to the United States. It makes me think of how lucky I am,” Moses said. “If my head would go somewhere else, I just go back to where I came from and what it took my parents to get me here. It definitely keeps me humble on the football field.”