Wednesday Jan 25, 2017. 07:44
Seattle Sounders new signing Seyi Adekoya has revealed his father played him Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha videos to motivate when he was growing up.
“I started playing when I was around two or three, thanks to my dad who’s Nigerian,” said youngster Adekoya.
“He grew up in Nigeria playing soccer and cricket. His favorite player has always been ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha. When I was a kid he would always show me videos of Okocha and say, ‘Watch this video, you need to do this move like him.”
“I remember back then Sounders Academy was the biggest deal, because everyone was so talented,” Seyi remarked about his time in the Rave Green youth system. “I was really excited and honoured to be on a team with such great players.”
Adekoya signed with UCLA in large part because of its strong medical program. His father always wanted him to become a doctor.
“When I first got to UCLA and went through the preseason practices I did terribly,” laughed Adekoya. “I would have guys like [Mac Hermann Trophy winner] Leo Stolz yelling at me, and I got so nervous I couldn’t even connect simple passes. But I kept working hard and believing in myself.”
Adekoya broke into the team as a freshman and recorded 20 goals, eight assists and 37 starts in three seasons with the Bruins.
He spent his first two seasons at UCLA as a central striker, often relying on his blistering pace to stretch the field and latch onto through-balls, but in the 2016 campaign he lined up as a wide attacker.
“Spending this last season on the wing I found that my game was based less on athleticism and more on combining with teammates,” said Adekoya.
“I think that helped my game because I learned how to play both ways. I can be a connecting player and set people up or I can be someone who runs in-behind and scores goals.”
He credits UCLA for helping him develop into a versatile attacking player.
As he reminisces on his college career, his favorite memory is scoring the game-winning goal against the University of Washington in Seattle during his freshman season. Sharing such a special moment with all of his friends, family, former teachers and coaches in the crowd reaffirmed his desire to return home after his college career.
“When I got to UCLA I realized that I really love Seattle and I missed it,” said Adekoya. “Every single second I was there I wanted to be here. I really love this city and I’m happy to be back now.”