William Troost-Ekong, a 24 year old professional footballer, was born in the Netherlands but of Nigerian descent.He is presently a professional footballer who plays for the Super Eagles of Nigeria. In this interview, William shares his journey to stardom with us.
– By Toyin Eleniyan
William played football as a 6 year old boy on his school’s playground with his friends in his neighborhood and fell in love with the game.As a young boy, becoming a footballer was like a dream.
He got started playing for his local club and didn’t start playing professionally until he was about 14 years old. His first team was SV Overbosin the Netherlands; it’s an Aluche team. He also played for Stotford, Fullham, and for different teams in Holland and presently plays for Bursapor.
For Willliam, it wasn’t always success, as there have been failures that made him doubt himself. People also doubted him and believed he wasn’t good enough, but to him, he knew that the most important thing was the drive to believe in himself. This eventually helped him overcome obstacles and become successful.
William’s first milestone was signing his first official contract, for his first professional game. Afterwards, he hit other milestones including participating in his first international cup,winning the Olympics bronze medal and then qualifying for the World Cup.
William believes that sometimes, you have to be lucky to get opportunities. However, he also believes that you have to be trained and prepared to take up the opportunity and seize the moment.“I think playing football with the Super Eagles was my first opportunity. Back then, the Coach, Stephen Keshi,called me up. He liked the way I played and told me it was my chance to seize the opportunity and I’ve been effective since then,” he stated.
To William, many upcoming footballers see success as very easy; they think that other people can do it for them while they stay idle and not work hard. That doesn’t work.
He believes youth empowerment is very important, it’s what the new generation needs in order to access certain opportunities, and for him, his field has given him a platform. He believes sports has provided for him, his family and being that he constantly dreamt of it as a young boy, it has given him an opportunity to make a better life for himself.
He believes the industry can be a source of empowerment to other athletes if they can leverage their fan base, their platforms, media opportunities on TV and radio, and interviews to voice their opinions and try to make the world a better place, which is very important.
“I think it is very difficult for some Nigerian youths because they’ve had difficult times, sometimes it’s the government and politics, but I think if you believe in yourself, a lot of things will fall in place. Some people started from nothing and have come very far. We have several people like that in the industry,” he stated.William advises that young footballers simply need to believe and be relentless in chasing their dreams.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in the Spark magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.