Last week I spoke to Nybergsund forward David Olaoye to discuss his time in football so far, including what it was like to be the first English footballer to play professionally in Argentina, as well as the other clubs he has played for in his unique career.
Q: In the early years of your career you played for a few local non-league sides before joining Greek side AO Tympakiou, reportedly turning down interest from Sheffield United. How did the move to Greece come about?
A: Most of it was just training with non-leagues side to keep fit, preparing me for when I was going to go to Greece. Me and my twin brother (Daniel Olaoye) got noticed by ex-Panathinaikos player Kostas Kiassos, who is now a good friend now of mine. Daniel attracted interest from Sheffield United a few years ago, when we played against them for amateur side Elite Pro Sports.
Q: What was your time in Greece like and was it a culture shock for you?
A: It was a very nice time and great experience for me. Going to a different country and culture was amazing. I learnt a lot there and felt very welcomed there by the fans, teammates and Greece as a whole.
Q: At the beginning of 2017 you joined Slovenian side NK Bravo. Although you spent a lot of your time there injured, what was that experience like?
A: Once again, the experience was amazing. The training sessions were the best that I’ve had in my career. We had some very good players there, former U20 and U19 internationals from Slovenia and Nigeria respectively. It was very different but I coped with the level of football and adapted very well. I got unlucky with the injury, but unfortunately that’s part of football.
Q: Six months later you made the move to Argentina to sign for El Porvenir. Was that a big decision for you to switch continents and were you at all nervous?
A: It was absolutely amazing. I wasn’t nervous at all really, because I knew I would get along well with the people there and adapt to the culture. It was a massive decision as it’s so far away from England but I consider myself to be mentally strong so I knew I would be alright.
Q: At El Porvenir you became the first English player to play professionally in Argentina. Was there ever any hostility towards you from the fans or were you welcomed with open arms?
A: The first few months were crazy. There was a lot of media and everything was so new to me. I was quite in-demand with people wanting to me to do things, such as shows and interviews for the first time in my career. The people there were amazing and I was treated very well and received perfectly by my teammates. It was a really enjoyable time.
Q: You spent about a year in South America, so what was the highlight of your time there?
A: Learning the style and desire of Argentinian football as it was different to European football. The highlight for me was living in a different culture. I adapted very well and even though I didn’t play much football, my ability increased quite a lot. It gave me a hunger and desire that I take wherever I go today. My time there made me the person I am now.
Q: You signed a two-year deal for El Porvenir but left after just ten months to sign for Nybergsund in Norway. What made you make the decision to leave Argentina halfway into your contract to play in another country so far away?
A: I wasn’t playing much football at all and I needed to play and get a full season under my belt because playing games is very important to me. I left Argentina for that reason but I would really love to return to play there one day as it’s an amazing country with and the football is great.
Q: How difficult was it to adjust from playing in such a warm country, to moving somewhere where I imagine the temperature is quite the opposite?
A: It was really difficult because I had to adapt to the cold and it affected my body in a lot of ways as it was so different to Argentina. I also picked up a few injuries at the start which didn’t make things any easier.
Q: How long do you intend on spending at Nybergsund and are you on a bit of a mission to play in as many countries as possible or do you intend on returning to England at some point in the future?
A: I’m not sure at the moment. I have been offered a new deal there but I can’t say too much about whether I’ll be staying there or not. I want to settle at one club and succeed, then eventually move back to England but for now I want to continue playing abroad as I think it’s what best for me.
Q: When you first started playing football for clubs like Barking and Newham, was it your intention to have a career like you do now, travelling the world or has it all been quite unexpected?
A: I prefer playing abroad much more than playing in non-league. It is more suited to my style and I have learnt a lot by playing and living outside of England as I’m freer to play football in the way that I want to.
I’d like to thank David for taking the time out for this interview and wish him the best of luck for the upcoming season.