Life for Ramzi Toure, a senior business and economics major, has been a wild, eventful ride. Born and raised in Oslo, Norway, Toure was exposed to the game of soccer at the age of six. His brother, Nabil, started playing a year before him, which inspired Toure to follow in his footsteps. Toure's father was a big soccer fan who never got an opportunity to play, so he supported Toure on his ventures and installed a drive in Toure to be the best player he could possibly be.
"My life during this time was go to school, eat, and go to practice," Toure said. "Soccer was my lifestyle and I spent most of my time playing soccer."
Toure also lived in Togo, Africa from 2010 to 2012 and learned how to speak French. A lot of his family lived in Togo, which made it easier for Toure to be with them and learn more about their culture. He was 14 when he moved to Togo and joined club.
"It (living in Togo) was a great experience and it helped shape the person I am today," Toure said.
Playing soccer in Togo was a completely different experience for Toure. The competition was more physical than what he was used to in Norway. This only helped him grow as a player and as an individual.
"Over there, soccer is like the only option for some people to make it because a lot do not get a chance to get a proper education," Toure explained. "Soccer seems to be like the only way out and the players take it very seriously."
Toure qualified for the U-20 national team in Togo in 2014, two years after he moved back to Norway. He was playing club in Norway during those two years.
"The coaches called me and asked if I was interested in playing for the national team and I flew over in May 2014 for a national team camp and we played against Morocco. We won that match 4-2," Toure said.
He did not get to play because he had troubles with his passport, but he learned from the experience and was glad that he got to be a part of a national team. Representing the country was a major accomplishment for Toure.
After living in Norway and Africa, Toure's next step led him to UT in 2015. Toure said that soccer in Norway is similar to the United States, but there is more diversity in teams at UT. Each organization has different characteristics physically and how much direct contact is applied changes with each squad played. Soccer is one of the most popular sports in Norway and Toure said a lot more people are interested and follow the game much more closely compared to Florida.
Before he came to Tampa, Toure said he did not know much about college soccer until his brother told him that he could come to the U.S. and study and play at the same time. He said he started reaching out to schools and coaches and got a lot of offers. When he decided on business as a major, UT's business school was the clear choice.
"Tampa is a really nice city and I have met a lot of interesting people and friends," Toure said. "I try to go back home to Norway twice a year to see family. I have gotten used to not seeing them since I have lived in multiple places over the years."
As a freshman, Toure started in every game of the season and finished with one goal and two points. He played a major role for the Spartans defense in his sophomore year, which only allowed 1.15 goals per game. The Spartans made it all the way to the Elite Eight in the 2016 NCAA tournament, which Toure credits as one of his biggest accomplishments during his time at UT. Toure was a SSC All-Championship Team Selection in his junior year and was named to the Sunshine State Conference all-tournament team.
"Playing at UT is a privilege," Toure said. "We have a very good coaching staff and the facilities are really nice. Everything is laid out here and it is up to you to perform."
Toure has big aspirations following his senior year at UT. He hopes to reach the professional level, whether that be in the U.S. or abroad.
"I am keeping my options open," Toure said.
Written by Matthew Rolison