Hoshang Noor Ali is a 26-year-old Afghan footballer. Born in Tajikistan, he lived in Canada with his family from an early age. Hoshang is a midfielder who plays for AS Blainville, the Ligue du Quebec champion team. We interviewed him about his career and his beautiful story.
You were born in Tajikistan to Afghan parents and moved to Canada later. Can you tell us your story?
Yes, I am an Afghan who was born in Tajikistan. My parents were born in Afghanistan and so did my 4 older brothers and my older sister. In 1992, a war started in Afghanistan and in 1994 we left the country. My mom was pregnant of me when we left the country in 1994 for Tadjikistan where I was born. We had a good life in Afghanistan, some time my older brothers and sister tells me stories about how we lived there and how everything was before the war and I can’t believe it. We had a really good life and with the war we lost all. It wasn’t easy for the family to leave everything we had, but we had no choice. In Tajikistan it wasn’t easy, we struggle and had to make a living in a new country. We stayed there for four years and finally came to Canada. I am really thankful for my parents to get the family out of the war zone and bring us in Canada. I was lucky because I was young and didn’t understand what was happening during those times, but now when I look at it, I am really grateful to my parents.
How did you get passionate about soccer?
When I was young, my older brothers played soccer a lot with their friends. I was watching them playing and they were older than me and they played tough and didn’t let me play because they didn’t want me to get injured. One day they allow me to join and the moment I touch the ball I felt I have found the love of my life. I dribbled them, scored goals, had a great time and since then I never stop playing the game. My passion really started at 5 years old in the street of Chomedey in Canada.
How do you describe your experiences at Montreal Impact and Metz? You played with the young Sadio Mane, what do you think?
At 15 years old, I had my first training with the reserve team of Montreal Impact wich name was Attack de Trois-Riviere back than. It was a great experience and at the same time, I had opportunities in Europe. One of them was at 18 years old when I went to FC Metz and trained with the reserve team. For me, FC Metz was a tremendous experience. Most of the players, if not all, were playing with their national team, some had big club such as Chelsea, Barca, after them. I learned so much there it was crazy. And one of the best moments was being with the man himself ‘’Sadio Mané’’. I was lucky enough to have spent a good among of time by is side and learned a lot and it’s not a coincidence what he has achieved in soccer so far. You could tell from back in Metz he would become a great player. Sadio was great with me and taught me a lot of stuff about football.
You currently play with the As Blainville of the Ligue du Quebec with who you have won numerous championships. What is your strength?
My strength is my mind. I don’t let stressful situations get to me, I keep myself calm at every moment and know what’s expected of me and prepare myself to deliver.
How was your experience in Canadian Championship?
I participated in Canadian Championship two times now and going on my third this year. I love it, every team wants to win and every player wants to play that competition. The quality is great, the intensity is high and the best players in Canada are playing in it so it’s a great way to test yourself on that level. Personally I found out I have the level to play at that level and the best is yet to come.
What do you think of Canadian Premier League? Which team would you like to play? Which Quebec city do you think could be part of the League?
I think it’s a great way to develop soccer in Canada. It’s wasn’t normal that Canada didn’t have a pro league. There is MLS, but only 3 Canadian teams are in it and that’s not enough for the development of the sport. There is a lot of great players here and unfortunately, they don’t have a lot of way to get seen. Now with the Canadian Premier League, there is more opportunity. I don’t have any preference team to play within this league. If I ever play in CPL, it doesn’t matter what team I play because I know what I bring on the table and the team will be good. I think it will be either Quebec or Laval that could have a soccer team in CPL.
What do you think of Major League Soccer and USL?
For me, those are great leagues that help for the improvement of soccer in North America. Since the beginning of those leagues to today, a lot of improvement has been made. Great players from Europe come to play, coaches from all over the world come to improve the game. It’s not the same level as European League indeed, but it’s improving soccer in North America and that’s the most important.
You have been called up for a few games with the Afghan national team. What did you feel?
You can’t express that feeling, it’s a mix of so many emotions at the same time that’s it’s indescribable you must live it to understand. Like love, you can try to describe it, but it’s by living it that you understand. Also, I was really proud and happy for my family because they support me all those years and sacrificed so many things for me and to be able to give them back. The fact that I now play in National Team, that I am a FIFA player is the best way to thank them.
How would you describe the Afghan national team?
A family. You join your brothers on a journey to spread love, to give great memories to all the Afghan people around the world. A lot of Afghans doesn’t live an easy life situation and we have that opportunity to give them joy by winning games, by playing well, by being together hand to hand along this beautiful journey of life.
Do you follow the Afghan Premier League? Do you have a favorite team?
I honestly don’t know much about the APL, the difference of time zone is too big and it’s hard to found a channel for the game. But I am happy they have a league for the development of the sport in the country.
How do you rate the level of Afghan players?
Afghan players of the National Team are talented, hard worker, humble and kind guys. We all play with heart and passion. Our mission is to bring joy to all the Afghan people around the world with our performances. Of course, we won’t win every game, but what matters is our performance. It’s the way we play and as long as we play with heart and passion the Afghan people will be proud of us no matter the score.
How important is soccer for development and peace in Afghanistan?
Sport is a great way to bring people together, to unify us all. In Afghanistan there are different ethnic and sport is a great way to connect us all. For example, in the current national team, there are Afghans from every ethnic. We are a team that unifies the nation, represent the nation and play for the Nation.
How important is soccer for Afghan communities living abroad?
It’s a great way to connect us all. When there is a game of National Team most of the afghan across the world will look at it and our performance does affect them. I would say soccer is really important for the Afghan communities abroad because it unifies us.
Do you follow Italian soccer? Do you have any favorite players and teams?
Yes, I do follow Italien soccer. I once came to Italy for soccer and AC Milan scouter were at one of my games with other scouter as well. I had a great time in Italy. I do enjoy looking at Serie A games. I do like Juventus because of so many great players they have such as Dybala, Douglas Costa, Pjanic, Chiellini and of course C.Ronaldo and back in the days AC Milan with my favorite player Ronaldinho.
What are your future projects?
You know Cristiano, it’s crazy when I look back at my accomplishments. Playing for the National Team, Participating in the World Cup 2022 and AFC 2023 Qualifications, played in so many countries, with so many great players. And at the start of it all, I was just a kid who was playing in the street of Chomedey, Laval, Canada who had dreams of all that. I am so grateful for everything life has given to me and I want to give back. I started my soccer school ”Goal Academy 10” where I share all the knowledge, experience, wisdom I have about soccer. A lot of stuff I learned it the hard way because I didn’t have no one to teach me and I want to be that person for any player willing to play at a high level.