17 Aug PG Talk: Amobi Okugo
MLS Midfielder/Defender for Portland Timbers FC
Profile: Amobi Okugo | Age: 25 | Sacramento, CA
College: UCLA | MLS: Portland Timbers
When did you first start playing soccer?
First started playing soccer when I was 3 years old. My dad used to take me to the park and would play with me until I would cry. I first played for a team with my kindergarten school team.
Did you play any other sports growing up?
I played basketball up until I had to quit because soccer took over, football 7th and 8th grade, volleyball 1 year , and even track and field for 2 weeks.
Who was your favorite athlete(s) and favorite sports teams growing up?
Growing up my favorite athletes were Michael Jordan, Claude Makelele, Michael Essien, and Kobe Bryant favorite sports teams was/is Chelsea
How and why did you pick to go to UCLA?
After I came back from the IMG residency program in high school, my parents and I decided it was best for me to stay close to home. I cut my options to UCLA , Stanford, Santa Clara, and Cal but once I went to visit UCLA my chose was already made.
How was your 1 year at UCLA?
My 1 year at UCLA was an experience I will never forget. It helped me grow not only on the soccer field but as a man as well. I will forever be grateful for my time there.
Why did you enter the MLS draft after only 1 year of college?
With the opportunity MLS and adidas provided me being able to pursue my dream while also giving me the ability to continue my education made entering the MLS an easy decision. I felt after the season I had along with my team at UCLA, professional was the next step.
When did you know were going to be a professional soccer player?
I knew becoming a professional soccer player was going to be a legit opportunity after my first year at the IMG residency program. I was able to gauge myself amongst the best and knew from the feedback from college coaches and soccer agents, becoming a professional soccer player would be a viable option if I stayed on the right track.
What was it like getting drafted 6th overall in the MLS super draft in 2010?
It was an honor to get drafted so early in the Draft. I was so nervous, not having any idea where I was going. To be able to get called somewhat early in the draft, helped calmed mine and my family’s nerves.
Can you describe how you scored your first MLS goal?
I didn’t score my first goal until my 4 year as a professional. It was against Colorado away and our game was played a day later than it was originally planned because of a snow delay. I broke free off a corner kick and headed the ball in. Didn’t even know how to celebrate, I was in shock.
After playing for the Philadelphia Union for 5 season were you upset when they traded you to Orlando City?
No, I wasn’t upset leaving Philadelphia. I had a great time for the club and will always cherish my memories there. The only thing that was unfortunate was not leaving on a high note with the team and winning the US. Open Cup. It would have been the first and only trophy the club has won.
After a stints with Orlando City and Sporting Kanas City how is it playing for the Portland Timbers the defending champs?
It’s great to be playing for the Portland Timbers. I’ve come to appreciate the city and the team. We have a really good organization and a great culture throughout the club. As the defending champs, we have a big target on our backs and I think our team has handled the pressure pretty well.
What do you want to accomplish this 2016 season?
Some goals would be to part of a team that wins a trophy. Last year with KC although I was cup tied, winning the Open Cup was a great experience. Being able to win a trophy with the boys are memories you always cherish. On a personal level, I’m hoping to stay injury free and continue to progress and play at a high consistent level
What are some goals that you want to reach in the MLS?
At least 300 appearances and hopefully make an MLS best XI or all star game. Team Level I would love to be part of the first team to win the CCL.
What do you like to do in your free time/offseason?
Lately, I’ve been into Reading, Entrepreneurship, Business ventures. I’m pretty easy going, and I’m down to do anything and everything. In portland, a lot of cool things to do like biking and hiking which I’ve grown to enjoy during my time here.
If you weren’t a professional soccer player what do you think your occupation would be?
NBA point guard or NFL free safety, haha on a more serious note something along the lines of running my own management consulting company with a focus on sports.