The inaugural season of AFC Ann Arbor was filled with excitement, surprises and a lot of firsts. One of the most memorable highlights of the 2015 campaign came during the league opener at Hollway Field when The Mighty Oak earned a 4-1 result over Oakland County FC (formerly Oakland United FC). Leading the charge for AFC was Fuad Adedapo Adeniyi, better known as Ade to his teammates and coaching staff, who netted two goals in the match. Since then, Adeniyi has continued to make his mark on the club, becoming a fan favorite and one of the biggest impact players to come through the system.
The British born Nigerian has used the game of football as his international passport having traveled all over the world as he continues to search for his first pro contract. Along the way, Adeniyi has played for the U21 Nigerian National team, University of Mobile, UC- Santa Barbra, AFC Ann Arbor, FC London (Ontario) and most recently, Sporting Kristina in Finland.
After the deflating loss for The Mighty Oak in the NPSL playoffs, Adenyi joined Sporting Kristina very late in their campaign, but wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to see a new part of the world, develop his game and hopefully make an impact that would add yet another positive mark on his CV.
The 4th tier Finish team was slated to take on a top tier team upon Adeniyi’s arrival. No one gave Sporting Kristina a chance to win this match, but Adeniyi knew that he was as talented as some of the players competing in the top tier, and wanted to prove his value right away. He wasted no time scoring 2 goals in his debut, helping Sporting Kristina earn the unlikely victory.
Ade recently completed his short stint with the Finish side, and had a chance to catch up with us about his experience.
AFC: How did your path lead from Ann Arbor to Finland?
Ade: Even before coming to Ann Arbor, I had been in touch with an agent to help me explore all possible options. As things wrapped up in AA, I went back to Cali hoping to get a bigger opportunity but this was the best, most immediate option I had. Even though it was late in their season, I decided to join them and make the most of the experience.
AFC: When did you start playing with Sporting Kristina and what was the role you played on this team?
Ade: I was with the club for less than a month arriving in the middle of August and returning to California about 4 weeks later. I see my self as a leader from the back and one of the better players that can help out the younger players who don't have the experience that I have.
AFC: As you keep climbing the ladder in the international world of soccer, what's your next goal on this journey?
Ade: My next goal is the goal I have always had and thats to play at the highest level I can
AFC: Having played for AFC Ann Arbor two years in a row, what did that experience mean to you and how did it help you become a better footballer?
Ade: AFC AA has helped me on and off the pitch, playing with people that have different backgrounds has helped me see the game differently and has helped my game on the pitch for the better.
AFC: What was your most memorable experience in Ann Arbor?
Ade: The most memorable moment from the first year was when I met my housemates who are now like my brothers and to this day some of my best friends. The second year was when I came back and saw how much better the club was ran and how my FAMILY had developed for the better. I could never forget theses two summers.