The first time Kuiye Du stepped on a football field in a game situation, it was a scrimmage during his junior year, and the nose guard lined up in a three-point stance — next to the safety.
It was an indication of how much Du knew about the game, which was very little. He came to Central Catholic his junior year as an international student from Harbin, China.
“Before I came, I had no idea about football,” said Du, who has played in eight games this season. “I didn’t even know you had to bring the ball into the end zone to score. After I came here, I learned a lot about it. My teammates have explained it to me and it’s really clear.”
Reflecting back on that moment, Du and his teammates can’t help but laugh. But since then, the senior nose guard has embraced football and become a staple of the Raiders roster.
“I wish we had him for all four years,” said Central Catholic coach Chuck Adamopoulos. “One of the things I always tell him that I admire is he comes here from all the way across the world, it’s a different language, and he’s coming into all different customs.
“I have a lot of respect for him, it takes a lot of courage for him to do that.”
Du, who goes by “Will,” knew how to speak English when he came to the United States but still had to adjust to American culture and traditions.
He tried to join as many clubs as possible, and was urged to join the football team. From the start, he said, he felt welcomed by the team. This year, he also was elected vice president of the senior class.
“The thing is, I always try to make myself and other people around me happy,” Du said. “There were so many chances to find new relationships and play a good role on the team, which is something I tried to do.”