Nigerian-born soccer player finds piece of home on City College pitch

Freshman David Agboola shared his perspective on the soccer season and how the team has talent but hasn’t lived up to its expectations


Freshman forward David Agboola, right, attempts a shot on goal in team practice against goalkeeper Martin Salgado, left. Photo by Antonio Contreras/City Times Media

Antonio Contreras, Multimedia Journalist

For David Agboola, soccer is not just a game.

It’s part of who he is.

He grew up playing the sport with friends and family, but unlike the entire roster of athletes on the San Diego City College men’s soccer team, that was nowhere near San Diego County.

Abgoola grew up in Oyo, an inland state in southwestern Nigeria.

Capital is Ibadan, the most populous city in the country.
Oyo is an inland state in southwestern Nigeria. Its capital is Ibadan, the third most populous city in the country. Oyo State Government photo

“I grew up in an environment where everyone plays soccer and grew up to love soccer because, from an early age of six to seven, I started playing,“ Agboola said.

Now a freshman computer science major at City College, Agboola is a first-year forward for the Knights (5-10-2, 4-5-2 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference), who end their season this week with a road game at Palomar College.

Although Agboola hasn’t gotten the playing time he would have wanted, he is still helping his teammates in any way possible to keep their spirits up.

“Even though I’m not playing I feel like our effort and my efforts are contributing to the team and pushing them even though we’re losing or the game is not going in our favor,” Agboola said. “I try my best to make sure everyone feels comfortable so they can feel appreciated for their work.”

After starting the season with a 4-0 win over Compton, the Knights lacked consistency.

“I feel like one of the main reasons why we’re not really doing good is we always put our heads down,” Agboola said. “It just depends on how much effort you put in practice and during the games.”

Back home in Nigeria, Agboola continued to play soccer from middle school to high school — that was all he loved doing.

But when he decided to move to San Diego for college, he wasn’t sure he wanted to continue playing.

The San Diego City College men's soccer team practicing
Freshman forward David Agboola, center, scores a goal during practice. Photo by Antonio Contreras/City Times Media

“At first, I didn’t want to play soccer because I didn’t know how I was going to cope here,” Agboola said. “But it’s the sport I like and (the environment) doesn’t matter.” 

Moving wasn’t an easy decision to make for Agboola and adjusting to a new school system was difficult.

He missed his hometown, parents and the friends he grew up with playing soccer. 

“All my friends and family I grew up with are back home,” Agboola said. “It’s really difficult being here, but it’s really okay and being here gives you more opportunities.” 

On Nov. 20, the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar and Agboola has mixed feelings. He is very excited for the tournament to start, even though Nigeria did not earn a spot.

On that, he said, “I feel sad, to be honest. I felt like we were meant to qualify.”

Agboola said he is still looking for a team to cheer for and is eager to watch the world-class players.

“I will probably support either England or Brazil,” Agboola said. “I want to see (Cristiano) Ronaldo and (Lionel) Messi because I feel like this is their last World Cup and I really want to see what they’re going to do.”

Agboola picked Argentina to win it all because he believes most likely Messi will retire at the end.

Correction: David Agboola’s last name was misspelled in the original story. It has been corrected. City Times regrets the error.