David Effiong has traveled a long way to get to St. Thomas University coming from Oman. But it is not the first time the psychology student and rookie striker for the men’s soccer team has been out of his home country.
“I was born in Nigeria, then we moved to the United States for a few years, then India for four years. Then to Norway for two years … and then to Bahrain,” Effiong said.
“A lot of moving.”
He decided to come to St. Thomas because he had never been to Canada before and wanted to see how it would influence his playing style. He chose STU because of how small it is and how close the students and professors are.
“Every place that I’ve been to, I’ve noticed attributes amongst players … I’ve adjusted to those styles,” Effiong said.
He has improved his game by playing in different cultures, making him a more well-rounded player.
“In India, everyone was technically advanced. They were able to dribble very well, so I improved my dribbling. In Norway, everyone was able to pass very well … so I was able to improve my vision.”
When coming to Canada, he noticed players were a lot stronger, as he explained he would get pushed off the ball more often.
“I can see that it’s a really physical league, and if I want to be successful, [I’ve] got to get physical as well,” said Effiong.
Effiong said he is able to go to the gym and improve for next season while keeping on top of his studies.
“It’s just a matter of understanding priorities. Time is going to be the most important thing … letting yourself know what you need to get done and then actually getting them done is very important as a university athlete,” said Effiong.
Effiong has loved his time in the Maritimes and says making friends has not been as hard as it usually is for freshmen.
“Typically, it’s the hardest part but here, it’s been the easiest because from day one I had a team to be with and to hang around with. And from there, I’ve built on to reaching out to others I’ve met in Canada and on campus,” said Effiong.
Through many years of playing soccer in a variety of countries, Effiong explained bringing in players from different areas is tough at first, as they need to get to know each other and need to adjust to a different style of gameplay.
“It takes time,” said Effiong.
“But the team collectively wants to be successful and I know going into next year, with the way guys have been going to the gym and getting in shape, I’m really excited for the results.”
With different locations and different teams, Effiong has been a team leader and said the leaders on the St. Thomas team has helped him out, as they are a second family to him. Away from his parents during holidays, the team was always there for him.
“There’s established leadership,” said Effiong.
Noticeable leaders step up and know the game well, as they help out other players and know what to do. The leaders for the Tommies help one another on and off the field.
Soccer has created many memories for Effiong.
“One year, when I played in Oman, my team had finished third place. But when we finished third place, it was from me scoring four goals against my old school,” he said.
“They said I wasn’t good enough to play for them. I was really excited about that.”