Meet Yamel Abreu, ‘19

Coach Marbely Montas and Yamel Abreu

Meet Yamel Abreu, ‘19
A Rock Star On and Off the Court

Major: Education

I’m proud to be a student-athlete on the women’s basketball team. I love the game. I’m from the Dominican Republic and I came to the U.S. to further my education and play basketball in college. However, since I did not speak English, I first had to be able to communicate with others. When I first arrived at Union, I completed the ESL classes I needed so I could enroll in regular credit classes and play basketball.

In my time at Union, I’ve always been a full-time student, taking more than 15 credits each semester so I could complete my degree on time in two years. Thanks to the peer-to-peer tutoring in the Academic Learning Center, I received the help I needed to maintain my 3.4 GPA. Balancing my studies with practice and game time is challenging, but I’ve been successful thanks to the support and encouragement of Coach Marbely Montas.

Coach Montas is the first person I met at Union and she has been an incredible coach, as well as my mentor. I can go to her with any issue, on or off the court, and can depend on her for guidance and encouragement. Since I have no family here in New Jersey, I sometimes view Coach Montas as “mom” and the women’s basketball team is my “family.” I think our team had such a good season because we are all friends and look out for each other. Thanks to Coach Montas I am majoring in education so I can eventually be a coach for a high school or college basketball team like she is.

I’ve had two fantastic years playing basketball for Union. I am amazed that I’ve won so many awards and that we went to nationals two years in a row and ended this year in second place. I’ve not only improved my game, but I’ve learned so much about who I am and what I am capable of. I thank my professors here at Union for preparing me academically to transfer and Coach Montas for helping me improve my game. Thanks to Union, I’m ready for my next stop in this game of life.


Marbely Montas (Union ’07) is a Student Services Generalist in the Office of College Life and is responsible for ensuring National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) compliance for all of Union’s student-athletes. She is also in her second year as Head Coach of the Women’s Basketball team, which competed in the national tournament this year and ended the season ranked second in the nation. As a former member of the women’s basketball team, she attributes her coaching success to those who coached her and works to provide motivation to her players. Ms. Montas has a Bachelor of Science degree in health studies from Monmouth University and an Associate in Arts degree in business administration from Union.