From the NAIA to the Premier League

Nathan Opoku, a talented forward from Accra, Ghana, has signed a contract with Leicester City, in the English Premier League. It doesn’t get any better than that! Earlier in his journey, Opoku played for NAIA powerhouse Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky where he set the conference on fire with 19 goals in 19 matches.

Lindsey Wilson College is a small private liberal arts college in Columbia, Kentucky. The Lindsey Wilson College Men’s soccer program is known for its competitive and high-quality teams, consistently ranking among the top NAIA programs in the nation. The program provides opportunities for student-athletes to showcase their skills, build teamwork, and earn a college degree without cancelling their dreams of becoming professional soccer players.

After Lindsay Wilson, Opoku moved to Syracuse University in the NCAA to continue his college career and helped the team achieve their best record in program history (19-2-4), a 2nd ACC title and their first national title. Opoku’s outstanding performance earned him several individual awards, including Third-Team All-America, Most Outstanding Offensive Player in the College Cup, and he set a team-high 30 points, 11 goals and 8 assists.

Leicester City, currently managed by Brendan Rodgers, are a smaller Premier League club that has punched well above its weight in recent years and famously managed to win the Premier League in 2016. This season they find themselves at the lower end of the Premier League table which is why it’s been important to strategically improve the roster in the January Transfer window. Harry Souter from Stoke City and Tete from Shakhtar Donetsk have also joined the ranks.

Opoku will start his professional career with a loan move to OH Leuven, a top-tier club in Belgium, until the end of the 2022/2023 season. He will play alongside former Syracuse striker Tajon Buchanan who now plays for Club Brugge.

This is a huge accomplishment for Opoku and it shows that playing college soccer in the U.S. can lead to professional opportunities. Opoku and Buchanan are far from the only players from either of these programs to make the jump to the pros – others include Ty Shipalane, Shaun Francis, Miles Robinson, Kamal Miller, and DeAndre Kerr – the list will continue to grow.

So if you’re a young soccer player with big dreams, take note of Nathan Opoku’s story. With hard work and determination, you too could make it to one of the top leagues in the world.

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