Many know Asad Abdul-Khaliq as the quarterback for the Minnesota Golden Gopher football team. The man that wears the number eight jersey and leads his team day in and day out. However, what many of you don't know is what Abdul-Khaliq does away from football and how he balances his numerous responsibilities on a daily basis. Football is one of Abdul-Khaliq's main priorities in life. As a fifth-year senior, captain and quarterback Abdul-Khaliq assumes the most attention, responsibility and leadership duties than anyone else on the team. However, in addition to football, Abdul-Khaliq is a student and devoted husband and father.
He has been a part of this football program for almost five full years, but most recently he has taken on being a father and husband while concentrating on football. Having a family has changed his life a great deal. His wife, Jameelah, and son, Saif, mean the world to him. He admits it can be stressful at times, but juggling everything is worth it in the end because he feels so blessed to have such a wonderful family.
"I am so very blessed to have Saif and Jameelah in my life," Abdul-Khaliq explains. "Jameelah means everything because she does so much. She takes care of the household and Saif when I am busy with football. She balances school at the same time because that is important to her. I tip my hat to her because not many people could do all that she has. She does such a great job."
Asad and Jameelah had their son on February 22, 2003. Saif (pronounced "sife") is seven months old, and to many he looks like a mini-Asad. Saif is getting bigger every day, and Asad thinks he looks like most one-year-olds. This is Asad's first year managing to play football and raise a child. However, he is thankful that Jameelah and him have schedules that allow them each to have their time with their son and time as a family.
"My son means everything to me," Abdul-Khaliq explained. "Even though he is hard to deal with sometimes, it all is worth it in the end. I love him so much and he has done great things for my life. Having my own child and being a father means so much to me. I take pride in trying to be good parent and I want to work on that as Saif grows up."
Abdul-Khaliq is in his fifth year as a undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota and is currently completing his degree. His lighter class load in his final year helps open his schedule to concentrate on his family and football. Abdul-Khaliq says that it makes it easier to balance everything when you have a routine. His weekly routine has allowed him to make time for his family and friends while concentrating on being the quarterback for the Golden Gophers and still finding some time away for just Asad.
Here is a look at Abdul-Khaliq's typical weekly schedule:
7-11 a.m. - Asad's wife, Jameelah goes to school, so he is home with Saif.
Asad and Saif usually sleep in, but Saif really doesn't sleep much so he will get up around 8:30am.
They will eat breakfast and just hang out together. Saif usually is up from there on because he is not a big sleeper.
"My time with Saif usually consists of me watching him crawl around and play with stuff he isn't supposed to touch," commented Asad. "He is a boy with a lot of energy. He doesn't like toys. He likes stuff like the iron and anything that will hurt him or that he knows he isn't supposed to have, liked the remote control or cups full of water."
11:15 a.m. Jameelah will come home and then the family will all hang out for awhile until Asad has to go to Bierman Field Athletic Building.
No practice. Asad arrives at Bierman to watch film and prepare for the upcoming week.
Night time - the family goes to visit Asad's teammates on campus.
7-11 a.m.- Watches Saif while Jameelah is at class.
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. - Lifts weights at Bierman.
12:30 p.m. - Eats lunch.
1:15 p.m. - Handles interviews with the media after Head Coach Glen Mason's weekly press conference.
2:30-6 p.m.- Practice and team and positional meetings.
6 p.m. - Asad goes home and spends time with Saif.
"He is a handful of work and an energetic little baby, "Asad explained. "I know that Jameelah is tired by the end of the day so I like to relieve some of that stress and give her a break. We switch on and off to give one another some free time."
Tuesday nights the entire family, Asad, Jameelah and Saif always go over to Bryan Cupito's place at Roy Wilkins to watch "Playmakers," a weekly drama series about pro football on ESPN which is currently Asad's favorite show on television.
7-11 a.m. - more quality father-son time while Jameelah is at class.
Wednesdays the Golden Gopher football players don't have to lift weights, so Asad comes a little later to Bierman and spends more time at home with his wife and son.
1:00 p.m. - Asad arrives at Bierman.
Watches some film, attends team and individual meetings and then he gets ready for practice.
3:30-6:30 p.m. -- Team practices.
Wednesday nights are Asad's day to take some time away. He usually spends it with his teammates and other friends. After practice he will go out and eat with his teammates. They generally hang out and play video games.
"We all usually go over to Roy Wilkins and take our shoes off and crack jokes," Abdul-Khaliq said. "We talk about anything and everything. It is good to have some time away from everything else."
7-11 a.m. - Same normal routine, Jameelah goes to school, so Asad is home with Saif.
Noon - Asad arrives at Bierman.
3:30 p.m. - The team has shorter practices on Thursdays because it is considered a wrap-up day to prepare for the week's opponent.
"We critique film and make last minute adjustments," Asad explained. "I figure out exactly what I have to do for the next game. Thursdays are all about us making sure we are all on the same page. The team works real hard on Tuesday and Wednesday and then we wrap it all up."
"Thursday nights we sometimes hangout with Jameelah's friends, because one of her friends at school has a five-month old," Asad said. "So we will all go over to their house in St. Paul and spend time together. We hang out with a few other couples."
Asad usually spends Thursdays with his family because come Friday when there is a home or away game he doesn't see them until the game is over.
7-11 a.m. - Same old morning where Jameelah goes to school and Asad is home with Saif.
11:30 a.m. - Jameelah will drop off Asad at Bierman and then that is the last time he will see them until Saturday after the game.
The team has a walk through or a light practice and some meetings.
Home Game: 2:30 p.m - The team heads over to the hotel.
5:30 p.m. - Team dinner at the hotel and then Coach Mason will send the whole team to a movie at Block E in downtown Minneapolis.
9:45 p.m. - Team meeting.
11:00 p.m. - Lights out.
"Almost every home game we go to a movie unless it is a really early game and then we just stay at the hotel," Asad commented. "But Coach Mason has us do this to take our minds off of football and just relax. It takes a toll on you, playing football all week and everything is football in our lives, so this allows us to get out minds off of everything for a couple hours. We need that break and relaxation. It is nice for us guys to sit back and joke little bit. It is also allows us to bond as team."
Fly out in the early afternoon and check into the hotel.
Have team dinner.
9:45 p.m. - They will then regroup and have meetings.
11:00 p.m. - Lights out.
"I usually don't sleep much the night before," Asad admitted. "I room with Benji Kamrath, and he will tell you that I don't get that much sleep. He usually goes to bed early and I stay up and watch TV. It is not like I am nervous, I just usually am so anxious to go out there and do well that I can't sleep"
Saturday - Game Day
Asad is always late to breakfast because he is usually tired due to his lack of sleep.
"My pre-game rituals are taking small naps to make sure I am not too anxious or energetic because that can cause me to make poor mistakes," Asad explained. "So I just try and get naps in periodically before game time, whether it is on the bus ride or whatever. I just nap here and there for a small amount of time. Naps relax me and I like to be relaxed when I go out on the field."
Jameelah and Saif attend all home games. Saif comes in full Gopher gear and Asad claims that he has turned out to be one of the biggest Gopher fans. Jameelah dresses Saif in a Gopher jersey with a number eight on it and a headband that has a number eight on it as well.
"Saif on game days is crazy," Jameelah explained. "First he will be all excited, and then he will get scared of everyone screaming and yelling, but he has gotten used to it and usually behaves just fine. He has grown accustomed to the games."
After the game they will have a team meeting and then Asad talks to the media.
He will meet Jameelah and Saif outside after the game. "I love to see my son right after the game," Asad said. "It is proud moment for me."
After the game Asad said he is usually pretty bandaged up, so he goes home and changes out of his suit and goes out to dinner with the family.
Asad can sleep in and rest from the day before and recuperate.
2:30 p.m. - The team lifts and watches the game film from the day before to figure iron out the wrinkles from Saturday's game and then they can go home.
Asad does everything he can to make sure he can fit everything into his busy schedule. His weekly routine has helped him stay on track and Jameelah realizes that as well. "Asad is doing such a great job of managing everything," Jameelah commented. It is hard sometimes, but I am understanding of that. I guess it is just all about finding the right time to do everything. And we all find time to spend with each other."
Asad's life is minute by minute, but having so many responsibilities hasn't set him back in anyway. Individually he has had great success on the football field. In addition he has helped lead Golden Gopher football team to an 8-2 record. But most importantly Asad's wife says that Asad has been a wonderful husband and a loving father.
"Asad is such a humorous person that it is so fun to watch him interact with Saif," Jameelah explained. "They just have a blast together. But we also see the affectionate side to Asad that most people don't get to see. And that is when he is really wonderful with Saif."
Written by Media Relations Student Assistant Jessica Fleischmann. She welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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