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Meram Decides to Focus Only on Soccer at U of M
By Guest Reporter :: Monday, September 27, 2010 :: 42069 Views :: Sports, Art, and Entertainment

When Justin Meram scored a game-winning goal for the Michigan soccer team in the 89th minute last week against Oakland, he was thrilled to see good friend Brendan Gibbons cheering in the stands.

At some point, he plans to return the favor.

Meram, who became friends with the Michigan placekicker while practicing with the football team during summer camp, expects Gibbons will boot a game-winner for the Wolverines.

“It’s like soccer or any other sport,” Meram said. “When you have, say, some swagger, your confidence is high and everything is going right. I told Brendan after the Notre Dame game, if he would have made the first, chances are he would have made the second.”

Gibbons instead missed both field goal attempts against Notre Dame, and started the season 1-for-4 overall before being replaced by Seth Broekhuizen, who missed his only attempt last week against UMass.

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said he didn’t know who would handle kickoffs, field goal attempts or extra points against Bowling Green on Saturday (noon, ESPN2).

For now, Meram is a spectator to the competition. He’s concentrating on soccer this fall.

The senior initially tried to continue practicing with the football team, but the soccer team (4-1-3) played seven games in 15 days, including road trips to Seattle and Marquette. He needed rest.

That, combined with the complication of splitting his NCAA-allotted practice time between two teams, made the decision inevitable.

“Getting my mind focused with one sport is what you need to do at this level,” Meram said. “Hopefully I can take my skills to the next level, and with some hard work and dedication, take whatever adventure is next for me.”

The Michigan soccer team hosts Ohio State at 7 p.m. Saturday in its Big Ten opener. Meram, who led the Wolverines in scoring last year with seven goals and six assists, is a central part of their plans.

So far this season, he is the team’s second-leading points-getter, with two goals and four assists, including that game-winner against Oakland and a game-tying goal against Notre Dame.

Still, there’s a part of him drawn to football.

He excelled kicking and punting at Utica Eisenhower High School. Meram hadn’t initially thought about carrying that interest to Michigan, but Zoltan Mesko offered him pointers during his freshman year and that rekindled his interest.

He worked out with the Wolverines football team during his junior year, and last spring nailed 6 of 7 field goal attempts during the annual spring game.

Right now, Meram is leaving his football future for others to decide.

“I’m a strong believer in whatever happens is going to happen,” he said. “If I get a phone call, I get a phone call. If not, I’m all in for Michigan.”

Justin Meram's Athletic Profile:

At Michigan ... Sixth player in program history to record a hat trick (9/23/09) ... All Big-Ten second team (2009).

Senior (2010) ... Recorded the game-winning goal against Oakland (Sept. 15), his first goal of the season ... Scored U-M's lone goal in a double overtime tie with Marquette (Sept. 19) ... Named to the Seattle University Tournament All-Tournamen team ... tallied two assists in U-M's 2-0 shutout of Illinois-Chicago (Sept. 10) ... In games against Illinois-Chicago (Sept. 10)and Seattle (Sept. 12)tallied a combined 15 shots, with six on goal ... Saw his first action of the season against No. 14 Drake (Sept. 3) ... Posted six shots with one hitting the frame against the Bulldogs.

Junior (2009) ... Saw action in 18 games, with 17 starts ... Led the team in points with 20 (7g, 6a) ... Registered 48 shots with 24 on frame ... Has two game-winners on the season ... Made his debut as a starter against Notre Dame (Sept. 1) ... Picked up three points (1g, 1a) in U-M's 2-1 win over Valparaiso (Sept. 6) ... Recorded assists against No. 21 Drake (Sept. 3), Wright State (Sept. 11) and Detroit (Sept. 16) ... Posted three points (1g, 1a) in U-M's 5-1 win over Western Michigan (Sept. 19) for his second multi-point game of the season ... Registered two shots on goal against Western Michigan (Sept. 19) ... Became the sixth player in program history to register a hat trick with three goals against Bowling Green (Sept. 23) ... Tallied a career-high six points in U-M's 5-1 win over Bowling Green ... Also tallied the game-winner against the Falcons ... Scored his sixth goal of the season in U-M's 3-0 win over Wisconsin (Oct. 4) ... Posted four shots, including one on goal against No. 14 Indiana (Oct. 10) ... Became one of three players to score on top-ranked Akron (Oct. 20), picked up his seventh goal of the season against the Zips ... Posted three shots; including one on goal in U-M's 1-0 double overtime upset victory over No. 12 Northwestern (Nov. 1) ... Recorded two shots against Ohio State (Nov. 7).

2007-08 (Yavapai College) ... Led team to back-to-back NJCAA National Championships ... Earned 2008 National Junior College Player of the Year honors ... Named NSCAA and NJCAA All-American and also earned ACCAC Conference Player of the Year honors ... Earned MVP at both the national and regional tournaments during the 2007 season ... Set new program record for points (132) and finished second all-time in goals (51) and assists (30).

Prep ... Eisenhower (2007) ... Four-year varsity team member ... Earned MHSAA All-State first team honors as a senior ... Named MAC Conference Player of the Year as a senior.

Club/Junior Team ... Vardar ... Two-time regional finalists and two-time national finalists.

Personal ... Enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts.

Career Stats

Year GP GS G A Pts Shots Shot% SOG SOG% GW
2009 18 17 7 6 20 48 .146 24 .500 2
Career 18 17 7 6 20 48 .146 24 .500 2

St. Joseph, MI USA

St. Joseph Chaldean Catholic Church
2442 E. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48083
Tel: (248) 528-3676
Fax: (248) 524-1957

Congregation Organizer:
Rev. Michael J. Bazzi

Church Constructing Pastor:
Rev. Sarhad Y. Jammo

Current Pastor:
Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Parochial Vicar:
Rev. Ayad Hanna

 Current Pastor: Msgr. Zouhair Toma

Msgr. Zouhair Toma (Kejbou) was born in Telkaif, Iraq in 1947.  He was ordained a priest in Baghdad, Iraq in 1968, and accepted his first assignment to serve the community of Baquba.  The Monsignor’s leadership skills and organizational talents along with his mastery of theology were immediately evident.  He later assisted Sts. Peter and Paul in Al-Salehia, and St. George in New Baghdad.

In August, 1978 Monsignor Toma was called to serve the growing community of persecuted Chaldeans finding refuge in Australia.   Being the fist Chaldean priest to arrive in Australia he quickly established a parish for the Chaldeans in Sydney to serve their social and spiritual needs.  The parish was named after St. Thomas the Apostle and built a rectory. 

In 1989, for his incredible work he was granted the title of Monsignor, Chaldean Patriarchal Vicar for Australia and New Zealand.  Continuing his passionate work to serve the Chaldean community the Monsignor moved the Parish Center to a more accessible location and built a large church campus featuring a modern community center, residence quarters, and administrative offices in 1995. 

In 2003, Monsignor Toma added a magnificent church to replace the previous one in order to serve the fast growing community and also opened two other centers.  The first was Our Lady Guardian of Plants in Melbourne, and the second was Mar Addai the Apostle in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mar Addai in New Zealand included two very large churches along with rectories and community centers.  Overseeing the Patriarchal Vicariate for 28 years, he managed to inspire six more priests to help minister to the fast growing Chaldean community. 

In August 2006, Monsignor chose to assist the St. Thomas the Apostle Diocese in the U.S. as more Catholic churches were being built in America and address the growing need.  On October 2006, Monsignor was incardinated and appointed Pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Troy.