“Once a panther, always a panther,” Coach Hardy Kalisher shared, in his words, “One of the top high school goalkeepers to ever come out of Boulder County,” Djibril Doumbia. Djibril’s legacy lives on as a Boulder High soccer player of the decade, remembered for the 20 games he helped us win his sophomore season and as a 2016 State Champion. He has since moved on to achieve much more in both soccer and academics. Younger athletes remember him as one of the best student-athletes to walk through the halls of our school, leaving a lasting legacy here at Boulder High. Students who attended sports events recall him as the goalkeeper that made the big save to win us the 2016 State Championship for Boys Soccer, while his fellow players and coach see the depth behind his effortlessness, remembering him as a hard-working, high achieving, and humble individual. Djibril brought passion and confidence to the game, inspiring those around him to be better. While he emitted a strong sense of confidence, it never outshone his humility and grace both on and off the field. In fact, he continues to come back and visit our school and the younger generations of soccer players that look up to him.
Djibril pushed himself to be the best athlete he could be by seeking out more opportunities after leaving Boulder High following the 2016-2017 school year. He attended a soccer summer camp in 2017 where he met a coach who liked what he saw. He recommended that Djibril attend a youth soccer academy named the Barca Academy which has connections to FC Barcelona, a professional soccer club in Barcelona. After trying out the following week, he was accepted into the program and said goodbye to Boulder to move to Casa Grande, Arizona to the academy. In the academy, Djibril continued to work exceptionally well and eventually graduated from the Barca Academy two years later, he is now currently attending Old Dominion University in Virginia. He is a freshman in college, continuing to improve and achieve next levels with the help of his mentor and coaches. After graduating, Djibril intends to follow his dream, playing in the J League in Japan.“There’s something about the culture over there and the J league that really appeals to me,” he said. While many of Djibril’s supporters see him being a professional soccer player in his future, he understands the harsh reality of being an athlete. “The pro leagues don’t always work for everyone,” he said. While he continues to train hard, he is simultaneously studying Sports Management and hopes to be a sports agent in the future, regardless of whether or not he pursues a professional career as an athlete. Also one of his growing passions is music production, and he considers it an option for his future.
Hardy Kalisher, Djibril’s coach throughout his time here at Boulder High, continues to follow his career. He still cheers him on from the sidelines and watches Djibril grow, originating his freshman year here at Boulder High School, he shared that Djibril’s confidence in himself and his skills helped him be one of the best goalkeepers our school has ever seen. Coach Kalisher said that “[Djibril] really believed he would save every shot in practices and games. Anytime he got scored on, he would take it as an opportunity to be better. Players really had to ‘earn their goals’ against him.” He not only pushed other teams to be better, but he inspired the older and more experienced players to be better. Djibril walked into the school as a freshman with a drive and passion that placed him on varsity soccer that same year, ready to learn and grow with those who were four years older than him. Djibril quickly adapted, having to develop stronger hands and grit to play against and with the older, more experienced players. Coach Kalisher also said that While Djibril “had some natural talent, it didn’t take anything away from how hard he worked to be a skilled goalkeeper.” His motivation led him to pursue greater opportunities, discovering his potential as an athlete and an individual.
While we all recognize Djibril’s success in soccer, Djibril and his former coach found that regardless of his future, the lessons he learned will lead him to success in his life. Djibril said, “My biggest lesson I’ve learned since leaving is not to take life too fast.” He elaborated in saying that patience is key in life, that good things will come, and if they pass you by, more and often better opportunities will come. He believes that mistakes don’t make a person, that you can always learn something and grow as an individual because of them. Djibril also said that “playing soccer at Boulder High was a blessing,” and that under the guidance of Hardy, he was able to push himself to limits he didn’t know existed, put himself out there and show people what he could do.
While Djibril continues to pursue his passion, we remember him and what he brought to our school and community. Coach Kalisher shares his experience with Djibril, praising his work ethic and skill at such a young age. Djibril was physically mature for his age, therefore able to play varsity as a freshman. He not only became stronger and more mentally fit, but he pushed others on the team to work even harder, creating an unstoppable team that won us the State Championship in 2016. Djibril was seen as a committed athlete and student, training almost every day before and throughout highschool. Many soccer players can remember playing with him in middle school and even elementary school. A former student and soccer player at Boulder High School, Malcom Trebus, praised Djibril, saying, “You could tell he was having tons of fun while playing soccer; he really enjoyed every moment he was on the field.”
“You have to be very innately courageous and confident to be an outstanding goalkeeper,” said Coach Kalisher, highlighting that while he was exactly that, he never let that outshine his natural humility and positive personality. As Djibril pursues his career we can only wish him luck in his future and journey as an athlete and an individual.