Nahid Ebrahimnejad said she and her husband, Ali, picked the perfect names for their two youngest sons, Mostafa and Abbas.
"Mostafa means 'Chosen One' and Abbas means 'Fighter,' " Nahid said. "They are both very meaningful in Islamic, and we both liked them a lot, and we thought it was a good fit."
Their names are also relevant on the soccer field, where Mostafa, a junior midfielder, has emerged as Hammond's unquestioned leader, and the scrappy Abbas, a sophomore, has solidified the defense.
The brothers have played a vital role in helping Hammond advance to its first state final in the school's 28-year history. The Golden Bears (11-2-5) will play Liberty (14-0-3) for the trophy at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
"We're right now at a junction no Hammond Golden Bear boys' soccer player has ever been in," said Coach Rick Bantz. "We've never made a name for ourselves in this county, and now we have our chance."
Mostafa has a team-high 12 goals and six assists, and Abbas, a stopper, has helped the Golden Bears post 11 shutouts this season.
"The big thing about Mostafa is he has this air of confidence, but he's not cocky or arrogant, and I like to see that in a player," Bantz said. "Abbas is a player who has come up big for us, especially defensively. He's really starting to establish himself out there for us."
What separates the state finalists is that Hammond hasn't played great all season -- just when it mattered most. Hammond tied its first four games but started to improve each game. It defeated defending state champion Atholton, 2-0, to win the 2A South Region tournament and knocked off 2A North Region champion Hereford, 2-0, in the state semifinals Friday, with Mostafa scoring a goal and assisting on the other.
"It hasn't been easy, but we got to where we wanted to be when the season started," Mostafa said. "Every guy on this team has had a role, and they've done their job."
Born in Maryland, Mostafa and Abbas grew up like most kids in Howard County: with a soccer ball almost constantly at their feet.
Ali began training them when they were toddlers, and the two brothers have nearly always played on the same team.
"We know each other so well because we've played together our whole lives," Abbas said. "But I think right now, this has been the year that's been most special."