The United Mates Keitel and Joe are joined by former Leeds United, Bristol City and and Nigerian international footballer Enoch Showumni to discuss his playing career, as well as to talk about his new life in America as a soccer coach and mentor.
On his childhood and getting started in football:
Enoch grew up in Kilburn, North London, a neighborhood with a tough reputation and high levels of crime; so football became a welcome distraction in his teenage years that would help him to avoid going down the same dangerous path that many of his friends and peers would choose. Enoch also prioritized his academics and would go on to earn a bachelor’s degree before ever making his professional debut. Enoch cites his parents as big motivators but he’s a very humble guy and hard work has never been a stretch for him. Enoch played his youth career as a midfielder but he was able to sign for Luton after impressing on trial and they would convert him into a striker. Enoch recalls taking the train to and from training and only earning forty pounds a week for the first 8 months of his time with Luton.
On his early Club and International career:
Enoch tells a story of making his debut for Luton but being hooked early in the game as the pace of play was too much for him… this was a difficult moment for Enoch but he managed to pull the positives out from the situation and push on to remain an important member of the squad until he would attract the interest of Bristol City. Before Enoch moved on from Luton he would make a couple of appearances for the Nigeria national team, playing for the Super Eagles in the Unity Cup; this was a tournament held at Charlton’s Valley Stadium and it brought together national teams from countries with large immigrant communities in London to compete against each other. Enoch made his debut alongside the likes of Obafemi Martins and recalls training with the likes of Kanu, Jay-Jay Okocha and Yakubu… Given that Enoch was still only 22 and had just began playing professionally, he was very surprised to be called up to the squad, however funnily enough Enoch used to joke with his mates that by the time he was 28 he would have made his professional debut, played for Nigeria and signed for Barcelona… two out of three isn’t bad.
On the rest of his Club career:
Enoch would sign for Bristol City and nearly gain back-to-back promotions to the Premier League, having gone up from League One in his maiden campaign; however Bristol City would suffer play-off final heartache.
Enoch was then loaned out to Sheffield Wednesday before eventually signing for Leeds United permanently, who had been trying to sign him under Gus Poyet and Dennis Wise and then managed to capture his signature with Gary McAllister in charge. Enoch suffered from a blood clot during his time with Leeds and was told by a doctor that he may never play football again… despite this, when Enoch did play his scoring record was very good and he managed to become a cult hero amongst Leeds United supporters.
Enoch would move to Scotland and play for Falkirk for a season; this was a move he made to optimize his playing time and challenge himself in a new league; Enoch managed just the one goal that season (albeit, it was an acrobatic bicycle kick) and Falkirk were relegated from the SPFL. From Scotland to Merseyside and Enoch joins Tranmere Rovers where for the first time since his Bristol City days, Enoch is back scoring more prolifically and he ends his first season there as the club’s top scorer and player of the season.
Post-Tranmere, Showunmi joins Notts County, the oldest football club in the world, where he happens to cross paths with an 18 year old Jack Grealish whilst he was on loan at the club… Enoch says that he’s not surprised at all by the success that Grealish has gone on to have for Aston Villa and England, he even recalls the manager having to make training sessions two-touch because otherwise Grealish would simply dribble around everybody.
On the end of his Playing Career and his Life now:
Enoch played for Torquay United and Plymouth Argyle before a few spells in non-league football would wrap up his playing days – Now living in Naples, Florida, Enoch has served as advisor to the New Jersey Teamsters football club and currently owns and runs Global Soccer Pathways, where he coaches and mentors youngsters aspiring to go pro. Enoch is also working alongside the university where he gained his masters degree and with Leeds United to create football scholarship opportunities for young international students.