Prince Afriyie to swap east London for Northern Oklahoma College after accepting sports scholarship

East London's Prince Afriyie has a scholarship to attend Northern Oklahoma College in America

East London's Prince Afriyie has a scholarship to attend Northern Oklahoma College in America - Credit: Archant

Teenager heads Stateside to pursue dream

Prince Afriyie will swap the east end of London for the United States this summer after being offered a football scholarship at Northern Oklahoma College.

The ex-Bishop Challoner pupil impressed in trials with United Sports USA, who help UK-based students gain scholarship offers Stateside because of their

sporting talents.

Afriyie will depart the capital in late July with his scholarship set to begin in early August, and he says he can’t wait to get started.

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“I was delighted when the offer came through because it is such a rare chance for anyone to get,” he said. “There was more than one college that offered me a place, but Northern Oklahoma was the first offer I received and it was for a full scholarship.

“Others came in after that, but couldn’t match the offer and it was such a fantastic offer from Northern Oklahoma.”

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It’s a big decision for Afriye to move more than 4,500 miles away from home, especially given the facte he is just 17-years-old.

Afriyie, though, will be joined at Northern Oklahoma by a fellow trialist who also impressed the watching scouts, with the two booked on the same flight.

But the teenager admits it was also the personal appeal offered by the institution in Tonkawa that helped sway him.

“It’s an experience I will enjoy and I’ve been in contact with the chairman at Northern Oklahoma and it feels like he will always have my back,” Afriyie added.

“I feel comfortable with him and it seems there is a great support network at the college for athletes. They’re treated well and there seems to be a personal feel.”

The attacker, who is comfortable on either flank or as a striker, has enjoyed a good footballing education in the borough having played for several sides.

In addition to turning out for his high school, he has also played for Charlton Senrab and is currently featuring’s for West Ham United’s college team.

And Afriyie believes it is his experiences in the borough which have helped him grow as a footballer to the level needed to earn his scholarship.

“Playing for local teams has definitely helped me as I feel I have matured as a footballer because of those experiences,” he added.

“In many games, I’ve been up against men so I’ve had to get used to that level quickly and grow as a footballer.”

The college system in America is noted for producing talent in a variety of sports, with many hopeful of making it into a ‘draft’ during their career.

Football is not immune from this trend, with America’s top division, Major League Soccer, regularly plundering some of the top universities for talent.

And Afriyie says the knowledge of this serves as extra motivation to give it everything he has when he finally moves to America this summer.

He added: “The scholarship offer is a great chance for me to hopefully reach my goal of becoming a professional footballer. There’s always the chance of making it into the draft and it’s an opportunity that you don’t get over here.

“I’ll also be studying while I’m out there and going to university, so it is an experience that I’m really looking forward to and can’t wait to start.”

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