Tobi Adewole, the former USL Championship journeyman, joined Footwork to talk about his testing transfer to Germany’s Regionalliga.
Every week, Dylan and Sean at Footwork Podcast bring you original interviews from players and coaches making their own path around the world. Below we have a short excerpt from their latest podcast guest Tobi Adewole. You can find the full interview on your preferred streaming platform here (Footwork Podcast)
Soccerway estimates that around 250 American players are testing themselves abroad.
You may hear constantly about Pulisic, Dest, and co, but the reality of it is that the number is still so low compared to the number of players in the U.S., playing amateur, collegiately, semi-pro, and professional.
An amount that’s even fewer; the amount of Americans that take their first experience abroad at the age of 26.
Let’s make it clear that 26 isn’t old. It’s entering your prime. But the comfort and knowledge that comes in America often halts a move like this.
Especially if you’re like Tobi and have played across the USL Championship for a variety of teams like Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Saint Louis FC.
The jump into Germany after years in the USL is definitely not for everyone. There is no doubt that it’s tough in both sporting and mental terms.
But for Tobi, the challenge ahead was really the only move that made sense.
“A big reason I came here was to compare the level, and see how far I can go,” reveals the center-back.
Tobi’s determination looks past comfort and familiarity. His ultimate goal is much more difficult.
And that is to become the best player possible. To reach his full potential. To test himself against the tide and see how far he can swim.
A goal like this is much harder to validate through milestones. It’s constantly resetting itself. Reprogramming itself to never be truly satisfied.
“My mentality is that you don’t deserve to be anywhere,” declares Adewole. “You have to prove that you should be there.”
It can feel unrewarding, but the process, the work ethic, and the little reminders that he’s truly testing himself bring gratitude if not also gratification.
It’s a plan the 27-year-old has had for a while. Corona put the vision on halt but it never left Tobi’s gaze.
“I wanted to see what Europe was about. I had the mindset of coming to Europe in the next window. But then my whole plan was thrown like a tornado,” admits the RW Koblenz defender. “I was supposed to come to Germany way earlier than I did.”
Even now after a successful season in terms of playing and adaptation, the ultimate ending was relegation. Stress and pressure unreplicated in American soccer.
It’s another test. Another chance for Tobi to evaluate his game in a new situation.
“I want to see how good I am. I want to feel like I’m challenging myself,” he professes, “I want to feel like I’m worse than the guy that’s starting over me.”
He’s not quite sure where the next challenge will be. But his goal-setting process opens more doors than it closes.
“Making the most out of my career and living this life to the fullest. That’s what’s kept me going.”
It’s time yet again to see how good Tobi can be.
Find the full podcast episode here: 1:26 How Good Can I Become with Tobi Adewole
Or Watch A Youtube Highlight Version Here: Highlight Show with Tobi Adewole