Photo Credit: LearnFirst
Class of 2016
Delaware Valley University, Class of 2020
B.S. in Accounting
Accountant, Lacrosse Pro, Warhorse Coach
F-A.com: Why did you choose accounting?
Khalil: I wanted to do everything I could to put me in a good position. I became very self-sufficient at a young age. In high school, I was motivated to set myself up for the future. I wanted a reliable career where I could someday buy a home and raise a family. Accounting is an old field with contemporary components. I could be in the position to always get a job. I could be social and work with clients and be intuitive. I'm currently working in auditing at Ernst & Young, where I work with processes that maintain a company's integrity. Now, I have the ability to pay for my future.
ERNST & YOUNG
How will you solve for growth you cannot see?
F-A.com: Why did you choose Delaware Valley University?
Khalil: I coached a lot of lacrosse throughout high school. I focused on what school would allow me to play and give me the most financial aide. I was accepted at Delaware Valley University, Temple University, Villanova University, Drexel University, Loyola University Maryland and St. Joseph's University. I narrowed it down to Delaware Valley and St. Joseph's. Delaware Valley gave me the most money and I liked the student and teacher ratio. I played lacrosse all four years. Last month, I was drafted to play professionally next summer for the National Lacrosse Association (NLA). Soon, I will get paid to play.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The National Lacrosse Association (NLA) is a professional lacrosse league headquartered in North America that showcases diversity and inclusion in the sport through a series of barnstorming events in U.S. cities. The NLA's goal is to change the aesthetic and culture within the sport, providing inspiration for all youth to reach their goal of playing professional lacrosse.
The NLA will highlight the most notable and unknown Black, Latino, Hispanic and indigenous players who haven't received an opportunity to play or excel at the professional level. Lacrosse is the oldest known sport in North America, yet the youngest and slowest regarding diversity and inclusion. Approximately, 3% of NCAA division 1 lacrosse players are black. NLA
F-A.com: How did you get introduced to lacrosse?
Khalil: My history teacher, Michael Kennedy, started Frankford's lacrosse team. I played basketball, football, soccer and ran cross-country, but I wanted to try something different. Lacrosse was a sport I hadn't seen anyone who look like me play. I was up for the challenge. Rightaway, I got very far into it. I was invited to matches. I watched a lot, and I did it all the time. I started playing at 14. To start at 14 is so far behind. I just wanted to work hard and step on the field and be confident. Before long, I was playing in the men's league in Philly and Jersey. And then I got a call.
In 2019, I won MVP in the Philadelphia division of the ULAX, a national men’s lacrosse league with divisions in many US regions and cities. My game became respected at the men's level. I'm a nice person, but very competitive. I always want to compete and see who's better--see what I can do. I was never pursuing lacrosse professionally, but the opportunity came and I took it.
I'm hoping that when Black kids see us play it will inspire them to play more and really get involved with the sport.
F-A.com: How was your experience playing lacrosse at Frankford and Delaware Valley?
Khalil: Because Frankford was new to lacrosse, Kennedy wasn't a great coach. He didn't know everything about the sport as a player. I know more as a coach, because I'm a player. However, he was never lacking in passion and he pushed us to do our best. Unfortunately, as a division three, we didn't qualify for college scholarships. But, he was a great motivator. He cared that we finished high school and encouraged us to attend college, trade school or the military and develop skills post-high school in order to stay on a positive path.
I completely break the mold that everyone expects. As soon as I grab my stick, eyes are on me. They're wondering, is it his stick? Does he know how to play? Is he good enough? When people see me at matches, they're not expecting me to be a player.
When fellow Frankford lacrosse player, Mason Dennis, (a few years younger) saw me play, I had 70 points in one year. We inspired each other. We stuck together because I was someone he could trust, and we could work together. He'd meet up with me at Delaware Valley and train with me.
F-A.com: Tell us more about coaching the Philly Warhorse Lacrosse team.
Khalil: Kevin Crowley, who plays with the Philadelphia Wings, is the founder of the Warhorse Lacrosse Philly team. We play box lacrosse. The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is predominately white. The National Lacrosse Association (NLA) is predominately Black, Hispanic, Asian and has White players. The NLA founder is Arthur Williams III, who is Black.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Warhorse Lacrosse Club was established to provide the opportunity for young people to develop, improve, and showcase their lacrosse skills at an accessible price. The program, the first of its kind in Philadelphia, is designed to empower student athletes to showcase a hybrid brand of lacrosse that incorporates athletics, skill, and IQ at top tier regional and national events.
Khalil: As a coach, I want my kids to be successful. I want them to attend schools like John Hopkins, find a sustainable career and become healthy, focused young men. I coach kids from 10 to 12 years-old. My hope is that they will become a better player than me at my age. I want to help them position themselves so they can get money for college through playing lacrosse.
F-A.com: What inspired you to pursue accounting?
Khalil: Ernst & Yound sponsors a college readiness program at Frankford. From day one, I said to them, you're all accountants...I'm keeping phone numbers. I used those relationships in college. I interned with Ernst & Young for two years, and was later offered a fulltime job.
Now, I can be that college graduate and swap places. I can be one of the professional people that come into the school, but Black with my tatoos. To this day, my boys still live down the block. I used to see the same vigils, they're standing over today. I know what and who you’re dealing with. I know what’s it like.
F-A.com: What advice would you give Frankford's current students?
A lot of students have been short-sighted and lacked discipline. A lot of my best friends didn't think far ahead. They didn't position themselves to get things in the future. Open up your options and take a look at the military, trade school or college. If you don't do those things, you're setting yourself up to fail.
I know what it's like to be in a household where you don't know when dinner is going to be. My family didn't have much. What I needed often wasn't available. There were times when my mother was rushing off to work the night shift, and I had to make a rice with soy sauce dinner.
If you don't set yourself up by going to school, learning marketable skills like a trade, or how to start a business, or prepare for college and back that up with discipline--you'll never push through. But instead, many students stop after three months. I want to see you succeed. I want to see you eat. If you don't look towards the future and prepare now, then you'll have no choice but to work where you don't want to be.
Think in the future and use the resources you have available to you now, then make a plan and see it through. I used to have to stay on campus during college breaks, because I couldn't go home--my mother didn't have the space. I became a resident assistant in my dormitory out of necessity.
I was on track to graduate with 135 credits, enough to graduate. However, to qualify for a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), I needed an extra 15 credits. I took 12 credits in a month, in the winter, and three in the summer, but I was falling behind. There were two days where I did homework from 9 a.m. one morning to 9 a.m. the next morning. During a 48 hour period, I was awake for 36 to 40 hours, but I accomplished my goal and received the credits I needed. My next goal is to take the CPA exam--now I can.
I hope to have greater influence at Frankford. What's essential is to drive home that students need to approach their future like it’s real. Do you want to be someone who delivers packages? If that’s not where you want to be, then don’t be there. But if you want to be the best Amazon package handler, then fine. If you don’t prepare and position yourself for a better future, you’re going to end up there. I’m hoping I can encourage students by showing my face through College Map.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Ernst & Young's College MAP provides support to underserved students as they consider the dream of higher education. The program helps students navigate the application and financial aid process, provides access to resources, and exposes them to the benefits of higher education.
So, again...have some forward thinking. Think ahead and be discipline, then you’ll come out on top.
F-A.com: What is your life's motto or favorite quote?
Len Bias (1986 NBA Draft) and Michael Jordan (1984 NBA Draft) were drafted during the same mid 1980s era. Len Bias got drafted by the Boston Celtics, and a few days later died of a cocaine overdose. Everybody talked about how great he was and his potential. Many say, he could've been better than Michael Jordan.
I was terrified to waste my potential. Len Bias (The Day Innocence Died, ESPN) could've been one of the greatest players, but instead of reaching his potential, he made a wrong decision and lost everything.
I can't imagine having the potential to be great at anything and not reach it. The thought just hurts me to my core, and thankfully hasn't happened to
me--and won't. At 23, I'm setting myself up so I can do what I want. It's a simple choice.
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