Shaun Suisham is now officially a citizen of the United States of America. Kickers are generally inconspicuous by nature, but the Pittsburgh Steeler was easily the most identifiable individual Wednesday among those who took the oath of citizenship at the Pittsburgh Field Office. Suisham originally hails from Ontario, Canada, but he wanted to make the Steel City his permanent home, as made official during the naturalization ceremony in front of his wife and two daughters. ESPN and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ official website reported on the story and included this picture of Suisham being certified as an official citizen.
Shaun Suisham’s daughters, Sienna and Stella, displayed their patriotism during the ceremony by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance proudly. Suisham said it’s not uncommon for them to say the Pledge, even at dinner, but Wednesday it was extra special, and they certainly played a major role in his decision to make this citizenship permanent.
“To have the opportunity to not just become a citizen, but to reflect on the last 16 years of my life, my entire adult life has been in the United States of America. I have a wonderful family. This was about family for me. I couldn’t stand the thought of ever being separated for any reason from my girls. That was the catalyst for going through this. Pittsburgh and the United States of America is now our home. It’s a special day for me, especially to have my girls and wife here to share it with me.”
Shaun detailed his path to Pittsburgh that began when he left Ontario for Bowling Green State University, which is where he met his eventual wife, Erin. Suisham has been with the Steelers since 2010, but not before spending short stints with the Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers, and Washington Redskins. The Steelers’ kicker was given the opportunity to speak in front of the 31 other new U.S. citizens who represented 14 different countries, imploring them to take advantage of their new gift.
“It is my challenge for us all to embrace our new-found citizenship with all of our hearts, minds, and strength. Let us not be satisfied with being mediocre. May we repay our country by conducting ourselves as good spouses, parents, friends and neighbors with an unrelenting desire to elevate our communities and country.”
Erin Suisham was equally proud of her husband as Shaun was of all their accomplishments that day. The Suisham family has been through a lot together, as even though Erin, Sienna, and Stella were all born in the United States, Shaun came to the country on a student visa, then needed approval for a professional visa and a green card. Erin was beaming when the ceremony was complete.
“I am proud of the man he is, the football player, but more importantly the father he is. We have been on this journey together. It’s important we stay together as a family unit. Knowing that will be cemented today is very important for our family.”
Shaun Suisham will now continue his efforts to get back on the football field. He injured his knee in the first preseason game of 2015 and missed the entire season that saw the Steelers advance to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs. Maybe more than any position in the sport, kickers are subjected to the “what have you done for me lately” game. In Suisham’s absence, Chris Boswell was a more-than-suitable replacement, which will make the 2016 training camp an interesting competition between the two. Suisham even addressed that inevitability after the ceremony, telling the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he has “zero interest in giving my job away.”
Step one: Become U.S. Citizen. Step two: Win back job with Pittsburgh Steelers.
[Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images]