Soccer For All!

From the UK and Nigeria, into our hearts: Enoch Showunmi and the Naples United FC

Enoch Showunmi knows the value of dedication, hard work and never giving up. This former professional footballer turned pro at 21 after weathering numerous rejections by professional academies. He played more than 400 games over a 12-year career in the UK and Nigeria as a striker for Leeds United, Bristol City, Luton Town, and the Nigerian National Football Team, among others. During his professional career, he played in front of 90,000 people and was one of only a handful of active players at the time to hold a master’s degree.

Enoch has achieved goals that many people can only dream of, but that didn’t come without some soul searching and a lot of perseverance. “I turned pro at 21. Prior to that, I was in a place of total uncertainty,” Enoch says, “Should I do this or should I do that or go there? I just kept taking action that was aligned with who I wanted to be. Eventually the uncertainty disappears and allows you to grow and become more certain in everything you do.”

After retiring from professional football in 2016, Enoch took a new path. He moved with his family to Miami and then, in 2020, they relocated to Naples where he accepted the position of Club Director for the newly founded Naples United FC. The club represents Naples in the National Premiere Soccer League and offers three areas of long-term development for all players: college scholarship opportunities, a professional contract, and/or play for Naples United and represent a city they grew up in.

In addition to the professional club, Enoch runs the youth soccer program at Paradise Coast Sports Complex and he is building a fully funded soccer academy, a non-profit arm of Naples United, that provides players who cannot afford to pay for club football with opportunities to participate. Supported by sponsorship from Athrex and St. Matthew's House, two big entities in Collier County/Naples, the program serves multiple objectives: social inclusion, health, hunger and mental wellness initiatives, and early learning.

Mentoring, support and individualized player development are offered to all players, no matter their age or skill level, with training delivered by elite coaches with the highest level of experience.

Ten-year-old Sebastian Dal Lago says, "I like this (youth) soccer program because it is more challenging than my previous soccer leagues. The coaches are very strict and give us challenging but fun activities. The other kids are really nice. I like it a lot!"

As if all this incredible work wasn’t enough, Enoch also founded Global Soccer Pathways, an organization that helps individuals within the Naples United family by offering support for college recruitment, performance coaching and career advice.

Enoch’s advice is inspirational. He says, “Your path, just like mine was, is totally unknown. Be patient but keep taking action. Know your own authentic process and ultimately the pathway will take you to your goal.”

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