Aly Hassan pays tribute to his late father

The striker is also passing down his love of the game to his son
Published Aug 31, 2020

Only seconds after scoring the insurance goal of the New York Cosmos 3-1 win over New Amsterdam FC ten day ago, forward Aly Hassan immediately pointed both his hands to the heavens. He was remembering and dedicating the goal to his father Marvin, who passed away on August 9. Marvin Hassan was 57.

Hassan said that he will dedicate any goals he scores to his father "for the rest of my life."

"Everything I do from this point forward, I have an angel looking out for me and I'll make him as proud as I can," he said. "It's an extra push. Now, he's always with me. He's always watching, and I feel that comfort. It's made me hungry to want to be better and achieve the most that I can."

It was Hassan's first game back since Marvin's funeral.

"That goal meant a lot to me," he said. "That ball going into the back of the net in my first game back, I felt his presence with me. It was an emotional goal.

Hassan added that he has a renewed clarity and focus not only on the field, but off it as well.

"It's not easy just to jump back in - when you feel like a part of you is gone. I think I made him proud, and it gives me a bit of peace. But it's just the beginning, I still have a long life ahead of me. I have to keep a good head and keep working to achieve more on and off the field. He left me a legacy I still have to fulfill. I'm a father, now too. I'm doing as much as I can with my son and - not that I didn't before - I appreciate it even more now."

Hassan learned the beautiful game from his father from just about the time he learned to walk.

"When I was a baby, I remember growing up with a ball at my feet, always playing with my dad," he said. "We would play in the living room, kicking the ball around, playing little games. He would throw it at me. I would work at hitting it off the bounce. That definitely helped develop my finishing ability for sure. Taught me not to be afraid to have a strike on net."

Hassan, a second-half substitute, admitted his 88th-minute goal was "probably the easiest finish that I've had to score." With the goalkeeper out of the goal, Ansi Agolli passed from the left flank to Hassan, who tapped the ball into the empty net.

"No keeper in the net," he said. "Ansi played me a great ball. It was also a very important goal. You look at the time, playing a man down. That cushion was important for us. And hopefully there's many more to come."

Last year Hassan turned some heads during the national anthem, by holding his son, Giovanni, who wore his Dad’s jersey. While Giovanni, now 20 months old, can't attend the closed-door matches because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he still can watch his dad and his teammates on livestream

"Giovanni, he's awesome. The best," Hassan said. "He's kicking the ball around the house now. It's amazing. I wish I could bring him on the field as well but with everything going on, he's got to watch from afar. It's an awesome, awesome experience and doing the same things that my dad did with me and I’m teaching him the ropes. He loves soccer. He loves kicking the ball. As soon as I sit down, he grabs my hand and tells me, 'No, no, lets kick.' "

A father teaching his son the beautiful game? That certainly sounds familiar.

Like grandfather, like father, like son.