Malcolm Gasque, 29, was destined for greatness, including playing professional football. He has been known for displaying blazing speed with his quick feet in countries such as Portugal, Brazil, France, Belgium, Ukraine, Turkey, Egypt and Poland since 2015. The Baltimorean was nicknamed “Noodles” in his youth, when he was being raised by his late mother, Rosetta Gasque, in Cherry Hill. Oodles of Noodles was mostly all that he had to eat, so the name stuck.
“Where I’m from in Cherry Hill, a lot of people don’t make it out of Cherry Hill,” Malcolm said. “Baltimore taught me how to survive.”
Then at 16 years old, his beloved mother passed away. Malcolm became a homeless tenth grader who focused on making something out of his life. Two friends convinced their parents to let him stay at their homes. After graduating from Baltimore City College High School, the determined young man headed to New York to embark upon his freshman year of college at Erie Community College, before transferring to Orange Coast College in California. Malcolm earned an associate degree in Business Management. His path took another sharp turn.
“After my sophomore year, I went to Portugal and that’s when I started playing (football) overseas,” Malcolm said. “My last year of college, somebody contacted me on Instagram, and was asking me if I wanted to make money to play football and go pro. I decided to go pro overseas.”
Posting footage on Instagram of his workouts for football and staying in shape, when he had been playing football at Orange Coast College was what led the person who sent the social media message to contact Malcolm.
“I came back to Baltimore and I trained for… the whole summer, before I left to go overseas. I stayed with my brother, and then I left to go to Portugal,” Malcolm said. “I signed the contract for seven months. And we (The Lisboa Devils) won 11 games without losing.”
Malcolm’s big move was playing football in Portugal as a running back on the team through American Football International, which is now the European Football League (EFL).
“The EFL is a tournament for European American football teams. These teams are affiliated to IFAF Europe, which stands for the International Federation of American Football – Europe,” according to EFL’s website.
This developed into a substantial foot in the door opportunity. Malcolm has played for eight sports teams abroad. His ninth opportunity will be playing on the football roster in Romania for the Bucharest Titans in August. A conversation Malcolm shared with his late mother keeps him pushing to achieve remarkable strides.
“I made a promise that I was gonna make a name of myself,” Malcolm said.
Even when his mother was alive, resources were scarce. Keeping the promise required substantial determination.
“I found a pair of football cleats on a practice football field that I was playing on in Cherry Hill. It was one Nike one and Under Armour. I used to play with two different pairs of cleats, so that basically was like my motivation, when I first started playing,” Malcolm said.
Reginald Samuels—a Baltimorean who met Malcolm when he was a youth football coach in Cherry Hill for The Cherry Hill Eagles —knew Malcolm when he was a track runner who wanted to try out football. He noted that Malcolm took directions well and Malcolm grew to regard Samuels as a father figure. Samuels said that he thinks Malcolm’s career accomplishments are great considering his mother’s passing when he was so young.
“He used it to actually fuel himself to just…do the things that his mother would’ve wanted him to do, because she knew he was destined to do better than most kids in his environment,” Samuels said.
Despite achieving success abroad, Malcolm returns to Baltimore in between football seasons. He is also known for mentoring youth, coaching football for the Park Height Saints, motivational speaking, working as a personal trainer, and utilizing his sports agency expertise. For Malcolm, staying grounded is linked to investing in young people who can look up to a man who beat the odds.
“The kids I mentor is what keeps me going because I feel like I didn’t have somebody like me growing up, and so the kids have somebody like me, a person that’s actually a professional athlete, to actually be there in person and spend time with them. It’s big, so I gotta keep on doing what I’m doing,” Malcolm said.
A moving documentary about Malcolm is available via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUlz6pN_0kM.