Columbia, SC (WLTX)-- There were two career choices for Ahmed Ali: soccer player or educator. Fortunately, he has the pleasure of living out both dreams in the classroom and on the soccer fields at Kelly Mill Middle School.

Mr. Ali is not only an 8th grade social studies teacher, he is also the head coach for the boys' soccer team. It's a sport close to his heart because he's been playing the game since he was 5.

His dedication to Richland District 2 runs deep as well. He has the pleasure of teaching in the same district that he credits with giving him an amazing education. Mr. Ali stresses the importance of understanding that student athletes have to embrace the concept that being a student comes first. He's tough on the field but also in the classroom where hard work pays off for his students.

He models his teaching style after his favorite teacher, his 8th grade social studies teacher John Smith at E.L. Wright Middle School.

If you know an educator who deserves to be recognized for their hard work in the classroom, nominate them by email us at TOW@WLTX.COM