Palestinian quarterback discusses decision to continue football career in Turkey
Omar Kharroub wanted to continue playing football professionally after his collegiate career, so when the Boğaziçi Sultans’ head coach Bora Karsak contacted him, he was willing and ready to move across the globe to continue chasing his dreams.
The Sultans, have won three consecutive national championships in Turkey and Karsak believes his new starting quarterback can help the team accomplish that goal again.
“We expect [Kharroub] to lead our offense and help the Boğaziçi Sultans team reach the season goals: fourth consecutive national championship in Turkey and reaching the Final-Four in the European Champions League. We also expect him to coach the younger quarterbacks and help us make them better players,” Karsak told Palestine in America.
Kharroub discussed his decision to sign a deal with the Sultans (IFAF) last December with Palestine in America.
When did the Turkish team begin to court you?
It was in November, I was finishing up my senior season and started to explore European areas, and the Bogazici were interested in me.
What were your initial thoughts when you were asked? Did you have any other offers?
My initial thoughts were yes. I want to play but I needed to do the research because I didn’t know much about European football but I was really, really excited because I wanted to play and was able to continue my career.
A couple teams in Europe and the United States offered me a position. Both professional and indoor teams like the Professional Indoor Football League, the Indoor Football League, and the Arena Football League. Two teams from the United States, one from North Carolina and the other in Colorado, and a team from Germany and one from Turkey reached out to me. I chose Turkey because I felt it was right and they responded to me better and treated me differently than the others.
What are your goals for this season?
My goals are a little interesting, and of course I do want to come here and play well. I want to get my name out here and out in America. I want to take this team to the Final-Four championship in Europe. They won three consecutive championships in Turkey, but once they get out to play other countries, they don’t get very far. I want to play good and get this team out there. I want us to win, and to be successful.
How are you fitting into the team? What is your role?
I am fitting pretty well, and I’m Muslim so I share that with 90 percent of the people here. We joke around a lot with American things and also Palestinian things. Everyone is showing me respect. They always tell me they want to be like me. People care about me here. I’m the quarterback and also the team captain. I want to lead this team to win the championship. Whether you win or lose, it’s on you as the quarterback. I feel like I can help them get better. I want to be that person that inspires them to play better. It’s an awesome experience right now.
What has been the hardest part about your transition to a new country and new team been like?
The way of life. The apartment that has been provided for me has leaks and sometimes the heater doesn’t work. The buildings are different here. Communication is key, and it is harder for me to order food at a restaurant. So communication and the way this place is built are the hardest things I have had to experience here. I’ve been to Palestine, so the culture is not much different, except Turkey is structured more differently.