A competitive environment growing up helped mold Navy’s Toni Adewole

Senior Toni Adewole is a star defender for the Naval Academy’s soccer team and has been a starter since his freshman season. When it came time to become a Division 1 athlete, the youngest of the four Adewole children didn’t need to look far for an example to follow.

All three of Toni’s older siblings also played D1 college sports. His brothers, Tobi and Tomi, played soccer while his sister, Teju, ran track. “With all of my siblings playing D1 sports, we grew up very competitive,” Toni explained. “I actually started running track & field because of my sister. She inspired me to run so I picked it up. After Junior Olympics, I lost the passion I once had and wanted to be like my brothers. I started doing both and eventually fell in love with football.”

“We would play in my churches league and would all be on the same team. Pick-up would be a weekly event on top of whatever training we had that week. We all would be very competitive in these games regardless of the level because we just hate losing. Whether it be kickball, volleyball, baseball, or any sport we would take very seriously. I appreciate the mentality they instilled in my mind at a young age by pushing me and fighting with me because it actually allows me to keep my composure on the pitch nowadays.”

Specifically focusing on his soccer skills, he is able to get tips from Tobi, who helped Saint Louis FC win their first-ever playoff match over the weekend. “It is very helpful to have a brother that plays professionally, especially also being a defender, he has been critiquing my play since my middle school club days,” Toni explained. “Being the youngest has its perks and having two brothers above me who played at high levels allows me to learn a lot of good habits they have/had and get rid of bad habits.”

That feedback from his brothers and competitive environment growing up helped mold Toni into a player that made an immediate impact on the pitch for Navy. “Honestly, I have been very blessed that my coaches saw the potential in me from high school and trusted me with the ability to start as a freshman and be part of the building blocks that plan to set the team in the right direction,” Toni said. “I think the thing that allowed me to prepare myself to step into that role was the competition I had in high school soccer.”

“I had played against a lot of kids who committed to Division 1 programs at high levels, so I had to continue playing hard in games no matter what challenge is ahead of me. I do not like backing down from a challenge whether that be a 1v1 or fighting for a spot and I think that mentality has helped me to this day.”

Obviously, choosing to play soccer at Navy is a bigger commitment than just four years of NCAA action. “There are a few reasons why I decided to further my career at Navy. First off, the percentage of students who get into this school is so small, that this opportunity was once in a lifetime,” he explained. “I was getting recruited by the former coach but we stopped being in contact. When the new coaching staff came in I was getting recruited once again and I had a feeling that maybe this was the place for me.”

“In addition to that, I chose Navy because I felt like it would be a great opportunity to learn more about myself. How I can make an immediate impact on peoples’ lives just shortly after I graduate. Upon graduation, I wish to join the Marine Corps as I put that number one on my service selection.”

After playing well in a scrimmage vs. Virginia in September, the Midshipmen will return to the pitch on Friday against North Carolina State. “I am very excited and lucky to be back on the pitch playing because a lot of my friends at other schools aren’t given the opportunity to play so we are blessed,” he said. “The boys and I are buzzing to play NC State, especially with the momentum coming off of the UVA game.”

“Although this senior year has been very eventful, I try to use all these as opportunities to grow. Our coaching staff is working hard to find games for us to play and we appreciate all the effort that they are putting forward for us. I as well as a lot of the team are not ready to finish our season just yet especially with the bar we have set for ourselves.”

Author

Carson A Merk

Reporting live from Sin City, I have covered both RGVFC and Las Vegas Lights FC since their inceptions. I also write profiles to highlight players from the NCAA to USL to NWSL and everywhere in between.