Yai, a sociology major, was born in Sudan and began playing soccer at the age of 7. He and his two brothers were able to escape the civil war in Sudan and moved to Jackson, Miss., where Yai played high school and club soccer.
His talent got him noticed by the UAB soccer coaches.
"He's a very good, hardworking student and super-nice young man," said UAB Men's Soccer Head Coach Mike Getman.
Yai, who moved from midfield to forward during his junior year, has played in every match for the Blazers in 2013.
"We selected Atak as the best role model and candidate representing the sport of soccer from college students all over the United States," said Diane Preston-Reilly, Challenger Films Inc. president and executive producer. "He was chosen to represent this field, not just for the sport, but also for his character and the adversity he has overcome."
By Meghan Davis