Meet David Olaoye, England's first footballer to play in Argentina who's travelled 18,000 miles and played in five countries aged 22

Meet David Olaoye, England's first footballer to play in Argentina who's travelled 18,000 miles and played in five countries aged 22

DAVID OLAOYE is England’s footballing nomad.

At the age of 22, the winger has already played in Greece's searing sun and Norway's numbing freeze.

The East London lad, who started at Barking, now plays for Ardal in Norway.

But of the five nations in which he has played, taking him 18,000 miles, the most eye-catching move came in 2017 after becoming the first Englishman ever to play in Argentina.

“I decided I needed to do something different to get myself out there,” Olaoye, who idolises Neymar, told SunSport.


“I knew no-one from England had played there professionally so I decided not to renew a contract in Slovenia and contact an agent in Argentina.

“It was difficult with the language barrier but I scored in my first game and they wanted to sign me straight away. From there, it just got crazy.”

The 1982 war between the two nations was still fresh in the mind of the world’s press, with Olaoye’s move hitting headlines from Rio de Janeiro to Russia.

However, Arsenal supporter Olaoye insists he was “treated like family” during his year at El Porvenir in Argentina’s fourth division.

Olaoye was born and raised in Goodmayes by his parents, Ola, an NHS administrator, and Albert who works for Transport for London.

Olaoye was part of the Junior Hammers set-up and attracted attention from several non-league teams.

But he fancied becoming a pro so when a Greek club offered him a trial, the 16-year-old wanted to jump at the chance. 


“My my dad wanted me to finish college first, to at least have a back-up, and then I could do whatever I wanted,” he said.

“It was difficult to take because I was young, I wanted to sign, I wanted to go somewhere. Everything has it’s time, I guess.”

And that came in 2016. Olaoye flew to the Greek Island of Crete and signed for AO Tympakiou.

Flying the nest was challenging but he found comfort in the companionship of his twin brother, Daniel, who plays for VfR Mannheim in Germany.

“It was quite hard to be without my mum and dad, I was leaving them all to go and play football but it was good to have Daniel there,” he recalled.


“That helped a lot. I spoke to my mum every day and the people in Greece were so welcoming.

“I remember in pre-season it was about 40 degrees. Sometimes we would have double sessions and do a ridiculous amount of running. All that heat was new to me – it was terrible.”

In January 2017, he made a move to NK Bravo in Slovenia in an attempt “to have something on my CV.”

Olaoye damaged ligaments in his ankle in the first week and was sidelined for the season. “I bandaged up my legs to try and force myself to play but I just couldn’t,” he said.

After recovering with a physio, Olaoye decided a drastic move was needed.

“It was the biggest decision I’ve ever made going to Argentina. I didn’t come back for a year-and-a-half,” he said.

“I needed to do something else; everyone was in Europe. I thought there may be ups and downs out but I’m ready to take a risk.”

Olaoye was one of five footballers living in El Porvenir’s clubhouse, and the only first-team player.


“The passion, desire and mentality in Argentina was really different – it was literally like a religion for them,” he explained.

“I saw some players who didn’t have money to travel. At the clubhouse where I stayed some didn’t have money to eat, and they’re already down because they’re not playing.

“Families would spend whole days on a bus to watch them play. The hunger for it is different to what I’ve seen in any other country – to even get one minute on the pitch, be on the bench, train with the first-team is very different.”

After limited appearances, he decided to make the move to Nybergsund in the fourth tier of Norwegian football before ending up with Ardal.

Travelling from East London to the snowy mountains of Norway via South America shows the hunger Olaoye has as well.

“I just want to play,” he says. “I believe I can do that in Norway and develop my career. I know the chance will come so now I’m just focused on setting goals and targets.”

Source: Read Full Article