Adeleye looking forward to return for Hounds
August 11, 2017 | By Rachael McKriger
Ryan Adeleye knows about the true life of a footballer.
What is the definition of “life as a footballer?” It’s about moving around, from city to city, to provide for your family – or yourself. However, for Adeleye, it’s all about his family.
Adeleye is from Elizabeth, New Jersey, but has spent his football career in different parts of the United States and overseas. He started his career with the Carolina Dynamo, before going back to New Jersey and signing with the Newark Ironbound Express.
However, in 2009, Adeleye went overseas. He signed with Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the Israeli Premier League. He remained with the club until 2013, when he signed with fellow Israeli club, Hapoel Ashkelon.
Moving to Israel was “a life-changing experience” for Adeleye, an Israeli-American.
“It was interesting at first,” Adeleye said. “It was definitely a culture shock. For a long time, that was home.”
Israel was where Adeleye met his wife, Hodaya.
“I learned the language and met my wife, who is Israeli,” Adeleye said. “When I met her, I became more religious. I’m still very comfortable going back there.”
Adeleye, joined by his wife, moved back to the United States in 2015, when the defender signed with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the NASL. After only one appearance and an injury, he left Fort Lauderdale, and signed with Hapoel Jerusalem FC, back in Israel.
The 30-year-old then came back to the United States in 2016, signing with the Riverhounds under the leadership of Dave Brandt. However, he looks back on his time in Israel with fond memories, saying he enjoyed living there.
“Sometimes, it’s what you see in the news, sometimes it’s not,” Adeleye said. “Sometimes it’s much worse, sometimes it’s much better.”
Adeleye experienced the life of a football profoundly when he moved his wife and son, Yonatan, who was born in New Jersey, to Pittsburgh.
“It’s different, and especially when you have a son, a family,” Adeleye said. “It’s different than being single, moving from city to city. But when you have to take your entire family and put them in a new place, meet new people. For my wife, it’s about getting a new job. My son, it’s about changing schools. It’s a challenge, but that’s the life of a footballer. So, it’s normal. It’s what you have to do. You have to pay the price sometimes.”
Adeleye enjoys his new city, though. In the 2016 season, Adeleye appeared in 10 matches, totaling 700 minutes, respectively. He has a good relationship – as he calls a “professional” relationship – with Brandt, who signed him on July 8.
“’I’m about business, I don’t need to talk too much,” Adeleye admitted. “When he needs me to do something, I do it.”
The Jewish defender – who commonly tags himself as the “Jewish Mamba” on his social media posts – has been battling with injuries, but assures fans that he’s ready to go. During the offseason, Adeleye had a surgery on his knee, and recently healed from a hamstring injury.
“I’m good now,” Adeleye said. “I’m good now, and training at full strength, training hard. I’m training probably harder than I ever have to get better.”
However, he’s been a helpful asset to the team on the sidelines as well. In addition to being a coach in the Riverhounds Academy, Adeleye, who is the oldest player on the roster, has taken a leadership role on the team in helping players – especially the young defenders.
“I like to help anybody that I can,” Adeleye said. “That goes back to working with the academy, the youth. Just like I want people to help me, I want to help them. I could see myself being a leader. I have some more experience than the guys on the backline. Anywhere that I can help, or provide some assistance, I’m going to do it.”
He enjoys helping his teammates too, guys that he’s called his “brothers.”
“I love my teammates,” Adeleye said. “You go into work with them every day. You’re a part of their lives, they are apart of my life.”
While Adeleye looks back to getting into Brandt’s game day 18-player roster, he’ll be watching the Riverhounds take on the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday. The Keystone Derby winner will be decided in the match, which begins at 7 p.m., at FNB Field in Harrisburg.