By Yakuso Umana
Nelson Edomobi, Colonel Grey High School’s boys soccer coach, oversees team practice. Edomobi is passionate about soccer and wants P.E.I. to be as passionate about the game (Photo credits: Yakosu Umana)
Nelson Edomobi isn’t happy with soccer’s popularity in P.E.I.
“Here soccer is dead, in my opinion,” Edomobi said.
The P.E.I. soccer association should do more to encourage soccer’s growth, he said.
Edomobi said he’s received criticism because of his passion for the game.
“When you have passion for something and you work with others who don’t have passion for the same thing, you come off as crazy. They don’t understand where you’re coming from,” he said.
Edomobi’s love for soccer began in preschool when he dribbled past an older kid at a training camp.
Since then, everything has been about soccer, he said.
“I love soccer, that’s basically me.”
Edomobi couldn’t think of many things he liked as much as soccer.
He left Nigeria in 2015 to study engineering at UPEI. In 2016, he began a program, The Soccer Initiative (TSI), where he and a friend organized a mini-tournament.
“We spoke about it and he gave me a few ideas. We had other friends who wanted to compete, there was no entry fee or cash prize,” he said.
“We just wanted people to know that’s a thing [TSI]. It’s a thing that’s about to get bigger in P.E.I.”
They’ve organized several more with players registering teams for a fee and competing for cash prizes.
This fall, TSI is hosting a league tournament at UPEI, featuring five teams and cash prizes.
Edomobi thinks there is nothing wrong with competition or being competitive.
“Competition is not unhealthy, it’s actually really healthy. Things may get heated in the moment, but you make a friend after because you won’t carry a grudge outside the pitch.”
The tournaments have built positive relationships between players and encouraged diversity, he said.
“Friends were being made. People who didn’t talk to each other, began talking to each other. We had people from different walks of life come together.”
The TSI fall league tournament takes place every Wednesday at 8 p.m. It began Oct 2. and ends Nov. 3.
Edomobi also coaches Colonel Grey High School’s boys soccer team.