Africa-USA College Soccer Recruitment Tour (A-USA) has secured over half a million dollars for its successful participants in its maiden edition. The program is designed to give young Nigerians an opportunity to capitalize on their soccer skills and academic prowess in order to gain admission and receive scholarships to top U.S universities where they can play football and obtain world class education at the same time.
Speaking to the program founder and director, Abdul Oganla, “A-USA is a fantastic opportunity that will change the lives of our student-athletes. They will not only be going to school but will also play competitively while representing their schools. This gives them a huge shot at realizing their dreams of playing professional football either in the Major League (MLS) here in the U.S or even crossing to Europe.
Among those that were awarded scholarships include John Oshakpemhe and Temitope Aris Oluwatuyi who will both be attending Lewis University in Illinois, Tolu Oladeinbo to University of Dayton, Ohio and Mifdal Olopade heading to Cedarville University among others.
Some of the season 1 beneficiaries are already in the United States and have resumed in their respective universities for pre-season. John Oshakpemhe, who was a starter in his university’s first novelty match described the experience as surreal. “This is all I have always dreamt about. I only attended the A-USA tryouts earlier this year in January and 7 months later, I am here in Chicago starting a wonderful career. It is indeed a dream come true. I urge every football loving youth in Nigeria to grab this opportunity and hold on to it. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Abdul Oganla who was recently a speaker at the Trade with Africa Business Summit in Chicago, Illinois told business leaders from around the world how the program started and how it is strategically helping to keep the Nigerian youth in school. “We saw from our data and feedback from our season 1 participants that a substantial number of the student-athletes are returning to school and are actually staying in school because they know education is a requirement to be a beneficiary of our program.
We’ve seen participants return back to their secondary schools to write their senior certificate exams and others taking SAT lessons and so on”, he said.
The second season is fast approaching and the organizers will be holding tryouts in Abuja, Enugu, Port-Hacourt, Ibadan and Lagos. Catching up with the Program Manager, Mr. Kunle Ajayi about what to expect from the program this upcoming season, he responded that the goal of the program is to give as much opportunities to the budding talents we have in Nigeria. He also stated that the team is working extremely hard to make sure many more student-athletes are able to become beneficiaries of the scholarship program in the upcoming season.