Tuesday, November 13, 2018 Medina 34°

High School Soccer

Foreign power: Exchange student Nnamdi Seukwa rises to varsity in time for Medina's playoff run

  • 20181030Seukwa-jpg

    Medina's Nnamdi Seukwa and the Bees with play University School in the Regional semi final.



From an exchange student wanting to fit in to a key part of the Medina boys soccer team, Nnamdi Seukwa’s rise is a direct reflection of the determination and desire he plays with.

Coming to the United States from Hamburg, Germany, after soccer had already started, the junior was in the stands for the Copley game and placed on the junior varsity “B” team.

He scored a goal in his first game, and coach Simon Spelling promoted him to JV “A.”

Seukwa moved to the parent club for the last three games of the regular season and has gone from spot player against Solon to a postseason starter.

“I was nervous because it was a big step between JV ‘A’ and varsity,” Seukwa said. “The atmosphere before the game is a whole lot different. I was excited, but it was fun. It was a great feeling for me, but I was happy that I helped the team to win.”

Seukwa was thinking about joining the basketball team at first, but his 10 years of experience on the pitch has taken the Bees to another level.

A defender in Europe, Seukwa plays for UH-Adler, which is the highest level club team at the prep level.

What Seukwa found was that U.S. soccer, especially Medina soccer, plays at a solid level.

“There are better teams over there. There are teams that are worse,” Seukwa said. “This is pretty competitive. It’s very good for me to stay on my level when I go back. There’s a lot of pressure here because they expect a lot, but I like it. It’s good for the team. We have this level we want to play at. Without it, I don’t think we would play as well.”

What Medina has found as it readies itself for a Division I, Region 1 semifinal tonight against University School (11-6-2) is a resolute player ready to help the team in any way he can.

“He has destroyed opponents,” Medina midfielder Gavin Csiszar said. “He’s taken people and proved that he deserved to be here. He knows when he needs to go and when he needs to pass the ball and takes advantage of it. He goes with such speed, and defenders really get thrown off by that. It screws them up.”

While Seukwa can play all over, Spelling likes to use him at center midfield.

It has paid immediate dividends, as Seukwa registered an assist in a 3-0 Akron Division I Sectional final win over Firestone.

Seukwa backed that up with a goal and an assist against Copley in the district final with injured leading scorer Parker Csiszar sitting on the bench.

“He’s another piece to the jigsaw puzzle,” Spelling said. “We’ve got a good cake, and he’s the icing on the cake. His touch is good. His movement is good. His understanding of the game is good. He brings a different style.

“It took him some time to get adjusted culturally and to our style of play, but he’s grown and become more comfortable and is ready to make a contribution.

“He’s happy playing right midfield or center midfield. We’ve played him up front against Shaker, but his best position is defender at right back. His transition to varsity is a reflection of his personality. He’s a lovely kid. He’s fit in like a glove.”

The likeable Seukwa has had no problem adapting to the USA.

With the help of the Bota family, which is hosting him, the junior’s personality shines. He considers the Bota children his brothers and is very approachable.

Put a ball at his foot and he becomes a threat.

“He’s just getting used to us and has played really well so far,” forward Mike Kelly said. “He’s been a real help. He proved himself during the JV ‘A’ games, and he’s been helping us in the starting lineup.”

Contact Brad Bournival at bournival929@gmail.com.

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