July 17, 2009
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. - The Cal State Northridge Men's Soccer program and Athletic Department is saddened by the loss of former student-athlete Mustapha Sesay, who tragically passed away in a single-engine plane crash.
The incident was occurred on Wednesday, July 15, near Hawthorne Municipal Airport in Torrance. Also killed in the crash were Rajesh Vashdev, 40, of Manhattan Beach, and Jorge Avila Quinones, 45, of Downey in addition to the 38 year-old from Ladera Ranch.
"He was a great warrior, with a great heart. He will be missed," stated Marwan Ass'ad, Sesay's head coach during his two seasons on the Northridge Men's Soccer team.
Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Sesay was raised by his grandmother, Abie Kamara, before he migrated to the United States at the age of 15. Upon his arrival, he moved in with his aunt and uncle in Redondo Beach.
Sesay attended Mira Costa High School and earned three varsity letters as a forward on the school's soccer team. During his time on-campus, he earned First Team All-CIF honors as a junior, named the team's Most Valuable Player in 1989 and 1990, and earned Best Offensive Player honors in his senior season.
After receiving his diploma, he began competing at the collegiate level for Norm Jackson and his team at El Camino College, a two-year institution located in nearby Torrance.
During his two seasons, Sesay played as a forward during the 1990 season and finished his inaugural year with the Warriors with 33 points on 15 goals and three assists. After redshirting the 1991 season, he returned in his sophomore campaign and amasses 21 points on eight goals and five assists en route to a state championship.
It was then when Cal State Northridge head coach Marwan Ass'ad offered a scholarship to Sesay to join his team for the upcoming season. Also recruited by San Francisco State and the University of Bridgeport (Connecticut), the junior chose to attend Northridge because "it is a great school and I like the coach."
The 1993 season, Sesay's first at CSUN, was a successful one as he ended up being one of three Matadors named to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation All-Pacific Division Honorable Mention squad as his efforts helped fuel a Matador offense responsible for earning 148 points in 21 matches.
"From day one he was tough as nails," stated former teammate and current Cal State Northridge Women's Soccer Head Coach Keith West. "He was a great teammate to play with."
Sesay was only able to compete in eight matches during his senior year, finishing with two points on one goal during the injury-shortened campaign.
"He was a phenomenal person," shared West. "Off the field he was the kindest person who would give you the shirt off of his back, but on the field, he would compete as if everything he had was on the line."
After his time at Northridge, Sesay begin pursuing a career in aviation. His ambitions became a reality when he became a pilot for America West Airlines before becoming a certified flight instructor.
He is survived by his wife Melissa, and his three daughters Halima (5), Zakia (3) and Amina (11 months).