Junior forward Biska Biyombo’s path to Richmond is not like most of his teammates’ on the Men’s Soccer team — it began in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Biska Biyombo grew up playing soccer wherever he could in Congo’s mining capital of 2 million people.
“It was a little bit difficult,” Biska Biyombo said of his childhood. “To get the chance to play the game of soccer was hard, we played barefoot and didn’t have good facilities. People didn’t have cleats, playing without shoes which was so hard.”Biska Biyombo’s older brother, Bismack, moved him and five other siblings to the U.S. to receive a high school and college education.
“He always is trying to push us as hard as he can,” Biska Biyombo said of his older brother. “He works hard and he’s going to tell you the same, work hard for something that you want in life.”
Bismack Biyombo is entering his eighth season in the NBA. Currently with the Charlotte Hornets, he was drafted seventh overall by the Sacramento Kings in 2011. Bismack Biyombo has also played for the Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic.
“I am lucky to have someone in the family to play professionally,” Biska Biyombo said. “He sits with me to talk to me about what it takes to accomplish your dreams. Over the summer I had a conversation with him before coming (to VCU) to tell me what to do to be successful and to try and become a pro.”
Biska Biyombo attended high school at Montverde Academy in Florida where he became a sought-after soccer recruit in the class of 2016. After graduation, Biska Biyombo went to Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado for two years before transferring to VCU.
While playing at Trinidad State, Biska Biyombo scored 38 goals in his two-year tenure. He ranked No. 36 in the Premier Development League.
“In junior college, the level is a little bit slower, not as physical or fast but when you come to Division One everybody is physical and knows the game better,” said Biska Biyombo, who was a two-time NJCAA All-American at Trinidad. “In the first couple games I got used to the speed of play.”
Biska Biyombo entered the 2018 campaign on a slow start as he injured his foot last October and rehabbed over the summer. He has started every match and recorded an assist in the 3-0 win over Radford Aug. 26.
“[Biska Biyombo brings] a physicality that I think opens spaces and causes problems for the opponents,” Rams head coach Dave Giffard said of the forward’s playing style. “Now those guys aren’t in college as much anymore, they’re mostly going to the pros. You don’t really deal with a guy that athletic and that big quite as often and when you do it’s very, very dangerous.”
Biska Biyombo came to VCU with the goal of eventually earning a spot at the professional level.
“My goal was to be a student-athlete first and then from there see how I am doing throughout the season,” Biska Biyombo said. “I came here with the objective of being a professional player. I can train hard and try to be the best player I can be on and off the field.”