Just as Youssif grew to love wrestling over time, his parents also developed an affection for the action, but they were not always so invested.
Though Youssif and Yasmine are from New York, both of their parents were born in Egypt. Operating as a traditional Egyptian household influenced the family’s focus and values.
Originally, Youssif’s parents were not very familiar with wrestling, and often worried when their son got hurt or lost a match. They, like Yasmine, encouraged him to pursue rowing, an activity that would not expose him to as much exertion and force. Once Youssif convinced his parents that wrestling could help him through college, though, they began to share his vision.
“My parents were never really athletes, never really pushed me in sports. They always pushed academics. A lot of times, foreign parents value academics very strongly, so they never really pushed me in wrestling,” he explained. “That was, I think for me, great, because it had to be all self-motivated, self-driven.”
The combination of Youssif’s academic and athletic ambition, paired with Yasmine’s guidance, made him appealing to college scouts. Many universities were interested in adding Youssif to their wrestling rosters, but he had ultimately decided to make Maryland his new home. After an undefeated season his senior year of high school that led to a New York state championship title, Youssif was prepared take his talent to the Terps.
This year, Youssif is a captain of the 34-man team. Learning leadership from his sister, as well as from coaches and older teammates, Youssif is ready to guide the group through the remainder of the season.
“I was a captain last year, too, but now that I’ve had a little more success, my words hold more value, so when I say things, people listen,” he said of advising his peers. “One thing is leading by example – I think that’s something I do well. People see me having success on the mat and they think, ‘Well, what’s Youssif doing? Maybe I should do that,’ instead of questioning it.”
Just as Youssif looked to Yasmine for guidance growing up, the team now looks to Youssif to direct them toward success.
As the Big Ten and NCAA Championship tournaments approach, Youssif’s immediate attention is focused on finishing the season strong. No matter the outcome, the Hemida family is proud of Youssif’s accomplishments, and, looking forward, Yasmine knows that her brother will thrive in all of his future pursuits.
“He's going to do great things in anything he sets his mind to,” she said. “He's fighting hard out there to be the best version he can be, and I know with the way he carries himself – with such discipline, confidence, and constantly being humble – he won't let anything stop him from getting what he wants.”