As newly signed Whitecaps FC Residency player Sam Adekugbe embarks on the most important journey in his soccer career, his familiar surroundings still act as his motivator.
When asked about how he stayed focused enough to reach this point in his professional soccer career at the young age of 18, he labelled his father as the driving force behind his motivation.
“Definitely my dad is the one who has pushed me to become a better player than I was yesterday, and I know right now he is very happy that I have been able to become a professional soccer player”, Adekugbe said at his training session since joining the MLS roster on Wednesday. “He has definitely been the biggest influence in my soccer career and in my life, so he is someone who I truly respect.”
EA SPORTS One to Watch - Sam Adekugbe
Playing professional soccer in Vancouver would have certainly been far from the mind of Adekugbe in his early years. The young left back was born in London and moved to Manchester when he was just two-years-old, living in the home city of English Premier League giants Manchester City FC, his favourite overseas club. From there he moved to Calgary, Alberta, when he was nine, where he played with local club Calgary Foothills SC.
It wasn’t long before Adekugbe began making his mark in Alberta, progressing to the provincial team, as well as the National Training Centre. Those experiences have readied him for his first camp with the senior Canadian men’s national team – an announcement that also came on Wednesday.
“It’s definitely exciting,” commented Adekugbe, who just recently received his permanent residency card. “I’ve lived in Canada for over seven years now, so to represent this country is obviously a great accomplishment.”
The rise to all of this success at the tender age of 18 could be quite the workload to handle at such an age, but Adekugbe is mature beyond his years, and again points to his family for instilling his work ethic – a family that spans several continents.
“My grandparents are from Nigeria, and my parents are from England”, he said. “So my grandparents are definitely excited, and they are actually going to call me right after this training session. So I know deep down all of my cousins and my relatives are happy for me.”
They definitely should be.
The first Residency defender to ever be signed by Whitecaps FC and the seventh all-time Residency product to join the club’s MLS roster, Adekugbe has ‘Caps fans tremendously excited about his potential. The young prospect could bring stability to the backend for many years to come.
It will take a great deal of hard work, but hard work has never been a problem for Sam Adekugbe.