Jhalen Bien-Aime: The Resiliency of Pace’s Main Offensive Weapon

Jhalen Bien-Aime. Photo Courtesy of Pace U Athletics.

Jhalen Bien-Aime. Photo Courtesy of Pace U Athletics.

Kwadar Ray , Managing Editor

For most young kids who play sports, they are usually participating in it just to have an activity to do or perhaps to meet new friends. But how about the kids who were pushed to play sports to stay out of harm’s way?

Hailing from the inner city of Boston, Ma., Pace Senior Jhalen Bien-Aime says without football, it would have been easy for him to get caught up in a different lifestyle.

“Being able to have football there and focusing on that, it kept me doing positive things,” Bien-Aime said.

For Bien-Aime, it was his mother, Neddy, who influenced him to play.

“She was really the one who pushed me because she saw it as a way for me to do something positive at a young age,” Bien-Aime said. “For the most part, my mother has done everything for me in my life, so for me to not represent her in a positive way, I take that as being disrespectful, so I always try to think about her and make the right decisions.”

While football was initially just a way for Bien-Aime to stay out of trouble, it turns out the Marketing major who currently ranks 4th in rushing yards in all of Division II football had quite a knack for the game.

After high school and a one-year stint at Bridgton Academy in North Bridgton, ME., Bien-Aime began his life at Pace in Fall 2014.

Following his freshman year, where he played mostly on special teams as a return specialist, Bien-Aime was poised to be a major part of the Setters offense as a sophomore. Then, he injured his foot in the second game of the year and missed eight of the next nine games remaining in the season. Any dreams of making that much coveted second-year leap was shattered.

“It was extremely tough for me because coming into that point, I never missed a game and I don’t think I even missed a practice before, so to just know your whole season is gone just like that was definitely tough,” Bien Aime said.

After rehabilitation, Bien-Aime came back the next year with hopes of playing the whole season, but due to another injury he only appeared in three games. Bien-Aime’s road to football greatness was halted once again, but not once did he think about quitting the sport.

“Nope, [quitting] never crossed my mind,” Bien-Aime said. “It was just another obstacle that I knew I was going to have to overcome.”

And overcame he did, Bien-Aime came into 2017 with a vengeance and he is now one of the better offensive weapons in all the NE-10. The young man who looked up to NFL Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson as a child has now racked up 788 yards from scrimmage in just five games.

When one goes to a Pace football game, they’ll often hear the opposing team’s fans shout, “They’re giving the ball to number five.”

Pace fans know it, the opposing team’s fans know it and every player on the field knows Bien-Aime is likely getting the ball, but he’s rarely been stopped.

When a player averages 158 yards per game and wins multiple honors, it can easily go to their head. However, Bien-Aime has been through enough in life to know all of that can be snatched away in an instant, so he has no time to stop and smell the roses.

“The only attention I care about is the one I get from my teammates,” he said. “If the guys in the locker room have my back and believe in me, then that’s the biggest compliment.”