Alumni Update: Adefioye scores hat trick, looks back at path to National Premier Soccer League
Over Memorial Day Weekend FC Diablos alum Adetayo “Tayo” Adefioye scored a hat trick for his current club New York Shockers in a 4-0 win over Greater Lowell Rough Diamonds.
All three goals came in the second half, which boosted Adefioye to be the top goal scorer for his club this season. His tally is up to four with one goal coming from a game on May 15 against Valeo FC.
“It was great just to be celebrating with the fans just to light up the stadium,” Adefioye said about scoring in the home opener. “I was fortunate to score three goals, I love scoring, that’s my game.”
Adefioye might be playing in the big leagues now, but it’s not where he started. Prior to even playing for FC Diablos, the 20-year-old began his soccer career in Nigeria.
“If you’ve been to Africa in general, like to the streets, you’re gonna see a soccer field, maybe a backyard and kids are playing soccer,” Adefioye said. “They form a gathering just kicking (a) soccer ball around and maybe it’s not even a real soccer ball and they just look for something that looks like a soccer goal they just make a goal post.”
Playing on the streets and his backyard is exactly where his dream of soccer started. He was lucky enough to go to a tryout and be picked on his first go as opposed to others waiting until the third try.
After doing really well in his tryout Adefioye was able to travel to the United States to get a chance to go to college and play soccer collegiately. Former Knox College head coach Kyle Sheikh believed in his ability and at just 16 years old he was enrolled into Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.
In Nigeria if you were smart and had good grades you would be bumped up a grade level which is the reason why he came to the U.S. at such a young age.
During his time at Knox College Adefioye was an offensive powerhouse. By the time of his senior year the forward scored 12 goals and earned six assists in 21 games. His performance led him to earning Midwest Conference Offensive Player of the Year and Second Team All-American.
Adefioye’s teammate, one of his favorite people in the world, and buddy from Nigeria Qaudril Lawal played for FC Diablos in its inaugural playing season in 2018. One year later Lawal convinced Adefioye to come and play for the club to help keep his fitness up for the Fall season at Knox.
At the time FC Diablos was playing in the United Professional Soccer League and ended their season 1-9-1. In 2020 Diablos created a COVID mini-season to supplement the canceled season. The team suffered a loss and draw in two non-conference matches.
Looking back at his time with the club, Adefioye credits current Club President and head coach Roberto Yepez as someone integral to his journey in soccer.
“I love him (Yepez) so much,” Adefioye said. “Even when LaDule (LoSarah) left he took over. He became the coach because he loves soccer as well, he played soccer before.”
After graduating college last year Adefioye knew he wanted to pursue soccer full-time so he packed his bags and went up to New York to take a chance because he knew a friend up there.
“I just needed a change of environment and Galesburg was too small for me to break off my talent in soccer so I thought New York was a better place to come and start,” Adefioye said.
Currently Adefioye is with Black Rock FC and New York Shockers to help his fitness and get better as a soccer player so he can break out into the big leagues and potentially go up to the United Soccer League (one tier below the Major League Soccer) or to Europe.
“Right now I have my agent, he’s working really hard for me,” Adefioye said. “He’s thinking about MLS, he’s thinking about (the) USL Championship, he’s thinking about Europe, everything. We have some offers and stuff. We’re just working really hard, training everyday, making use of the time I have right now to work really hard so when I get the opportunity I can grab it.”
When it comes to family Adefioye hasn’t seen them since he came to the United States. At a young age his mother emphasized going to college to become a doctor because she is one.
However Adefioye was stubborn and his mind was set on soccer, but he did go to Knox and pursued a degree in Psychology with the intent to become a mental counselor in his later years and further down the line become a doctor.
When it comes to Adefioye’s soccer career his mother had a change of heart about him playing soccer. Now she’s one of his biggest supporters even though she doesn’t know a thing about the sport.
“My mom doesn’t know a lot about soccer, my sister’s, they don’t know a lot about soccer,” Adefioye said. “So sometimes I send them my videos, sometimes I tell them to watch me online and stuff. They watch sometimes, but they don’t know what’s going on. They just see me putting the ball at the back of the net and celebrate.
Adefioye hopes that one day he can bring his family from Nigeria to watch him in person and at a big stadium.
The powerhouse attacker knows what he wants in life when it comes to soccer and he will take any chance he gets to become a professional player. For Adefioye soccer is his biggest passion in life and as long as he has a ball, field, and team to play with he is happy.
“I’m the kind of person, I don’t really care where soccer brings me,” Adefioye said. “I’m comfortable with soccer and I feel I can go anywhere in the world to play soccer.”
Photo courtesy of Knox College Athletics
The document Adetayo_Adefioye.pdf was attached to this post.