SHARECOMMENTMORE

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- We first met Rijad Kobiljar during one of ourAthlete of The Week segments.

He's a hardworking, soccer standout at Mandarin High School.

And it was a response he gave Chad Cushnir during the story that stood out:

"My parents are everything to me," he said in the story that aired a couple weeks back. "They came here for me."

They came to America from Bosnia in 2001. It was a country in conflict and ravaged by the war of the early to mid 90s.

They came here for an opportunity.

"Freedom," Rijad said Thursday while eating Thanksgiving lunch. "We came here to live a better life."

It's now his family's 12th Thanksgiving here.

Rijad's father Muzafer made the sacrifice to bring his family here.

"That was hard," he said. "I was proud to do it, but it was very hard."

Bosnia was all he knew, but it was collapsing around him.

"I don't like to remember, I'm going to do my best to try and forget," he said.

There were no jobs, and perhaps the time he'd like to forget most was the time he spent living on the street.

"I was 10 years homeless in my country, no, I don't like to remember."

So, with the help of cousins already in the U.S.A., they moved here to give their children a better chance.

"This is why we're here, to try and educate our kids the best we can," he said. "I love this country, there are so many different choices and options, you can do anything you want."

Rijad has accepted a full scholarship to play soccer at Jacksonville University, certainly an opportunity that would have never happened if not for his parent's sacrifice.

"We both worked two jobs for a long time," Muzafer said he and his wife had to in order to pay the bills.

And Rijad knows on this day of giving thanks he has so much to be grateful for.

"For my parents, definitely my parents and the rest of my family," he said.

As for his father's thanks: "First will be thanks to God who keeps me alive and keeps me pretty healthy," he said. "And then, I want to say thank you United States."

SHARECOMMENTMORE