OBASI'S SOCCER JOURNEY
Towering over opponents with a 6’4” frame, Onua Obasi has been making his presence felt at whatever level he has played. A defender with a two-way game, all the stops on his road to Utica have transformed him from a prospect with raw talent, to a cerebral, intelligent player.
Obasi’s journey to Utica began in Birmingham, England. He recalls loving the early morning games that he and his brother would play, copying everything he would do on the field.
While his childhood was filled with fond memories of the beautiful game and brotherly competition, his earliest memory of soccer was defined by shock and pain at the hands of another player.
“I remember playing in my first organized game and one of my own teammates kicked me. My own teammate kicked me. …Maybe I wasn’t passing.”
From the lows of being attacked by his fellow competitor, Obasi’s developing skills allowed him to reach the high of scholarship offers from American universities, eventually accepting an offer to play at Central Connecticut State University.
“I got really lucky. I didn’t even know scholarships existed when I was in England and with the scholarships in England, you only get a couple grand per semester. But in the states, you can get 40 to 50 grand for a scholarship each year so it’s a big difference.”
Obasi made the most of his time with the Blue Devils, earning First-Team North Atlantic Region and Northeast Conference first team honors in 2011 and 2012 while also receiving All-American First Team honors in 2012.
After college, Obasi turned professional and found immense success early on, contributing to championship-winning teams in the MASL and the USL.
“I had a really successful year in 2015. I played with the Baltimore Blast and we won the championship. Then I played with Rochester Rhinos and we won the USL championship. It’s nice looking back at how special and unique it was to win one championship let alone two. I got to see what it takes to be a championship team and going from being an underdog to winning it in the end.”
After a three-season hiatus from the MASL, Obasi’s arrival in Utica has already gotten off to a hot start. He has averaged a point per game through three matches with the City and has grown to enjoy his new home.
“The organization is fantastic, and the coaching is really good. Obviously, I was used to a high level in Baltimore so coming here with coaches who are diligent and prepared made me happy. My teammates are fantastic and very welcoming. So, there’s been nothing but positive vibes and I really like it. I think we have good players who have the desire to win a championship and the ability to win a championship.”
While Obasi’s focus is currently on succeeding at the professional level, he has aspirations of one day tutoring the next generation of young soccer players as his coaches had done for him.
“My dream is to keep playing while my body still is healthy then transition into coaching. I feel that my legacy as a player is one thing, but then the ability to pass on the knowledge to the next generation younger players. There were a lot of things that I didn’t know about the game. I was in a position where I just had natural ability, but I had coaches who were able to make me into the player I am today. I would love to pass that on to the next generation of kids.”
With championship pedigree, offensive potential and a six foot-four-inch frame to intimidate attackers, Obasi is ready to dominate the competition, pass along his experience to the younger players and continue The City’s winning ways. But above all, another championship is the only thing on his mind.
“Winning a title is something I want to do again here and we’ve got the players to do it!”