There are many young footballers out there who can boast to be millionaires without even making an impact in the first team.
That’s simply modern day football. In 2013, there was a great debate surrounding the £1.7 million contract that Chelsea handed to Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who was just 17-years-old at the time.
Of course, it would be hard to turn down such a tempting offer. Even if the chances of ever breaking into the first-team are slim, many teenagers will take the money and continue their development in the youth ranks.
But that’s not what Dapo Afolayan did.
The attacker may only be 20-year-olds but he’s already had a wild career.
Afolayan left Chelsea at the age of 15
Afolayan played in the same Chelsea youth side as Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke but at the age of 15, he rejected an offer to join the club’s academy and left.
The youngster decided to focus on his education.
“The reason I left Chelsea was that I’d have needed to leave school to carry on there,” Afolayan recently told The Set Pieces. “When they [clubs such as Chelsea] introduced category academies, it meant players couldn’t stay at school to be part of it.
“I was supposed to be doing my GCSEs the year after and I wasn’t happy to only learn three days a week, so I left.”
Afolayan signed for Premier League team last month
Afolayan and his family would then move to Canada, where he joined the academy at Toronto FC.
His education would continue at Loughborough University, where he studied civil engineering.
Afolayan was spotted playing for the university’s football team by National League outfit Solihull Moors, who signed him in 2017.
The attacker, who spent last summer at the Jamie Vardy V7 Football Academy, earned recognition from West Ham United after scoring 16 goals in 38 matches for Solihull.
Last month, the Hammers signed the player to a three-and-a-half year contract, continuing a rather incredible story.
'I want to make a name for myself'
“It's a dream come true,” Afolayan told West Ham's website. “I’ve worked hard to get here and I'm grateful for the opportunity.
“The opportunity has come to join a Premier League club and West Ham is one which has always given youngsters opportunities to come through, as we have seen this season, so I've come here to get into the first team and make a name for myself.”
All we can say is good luck!
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