Former AFC Cleveland and NPSL Standout Makes Waves in Scotland

Smart Osadolor never would have guessed he’d find himself in one of the world’s most popular video games, Football Manager 2016.  There he is a favorite for many gamers around the globe.

Even though the attention was unexpected, it’s still funny to see yourself portrayed in a video game, says Osadolor.

“I don’t really see it as that big of a deal simply because things like that doesn’t really phase me.  It’s just always interesting to see what others think about your individual game and I guess it’s funny to see something like my strength in the game being a poacher.”

In real-life, Osadolor is a fan favorite at Annan Athletic FC.

“I’ll have to say it’s simply amazing playing for Annan and the support which I receive from the fans every time I step onto the field makes it even better,” Osadolor remarked. “Being my first professional season there is a lot of highs and lows and can be really tough sometimes, but I guess you can expect that. The club being in Annan means it’s quite far from where I live in Glasgow, but it’s really good because when I travel to training or games it feels like I’m leaving everything behind and just going to do what I love and enjoy, playing football.”

A club that has been in existence since 1942, Annan is currently at fourth place in Ladbrokes League 2, the fourth tier of Scottish football.  The club has had a strong start to the 2015/16 campaign and much of this success can be attributed to the strong play of Osadolor, who currently has nine goals in all competitions.

Both Osadolor and Annan had an incredible August.  The Glasgow native claimed the Ladbrokes Scottish League Two Player of the Month award and Annan remained in the battle for the top spot in the table.  Osadolor’s best game came in a 3-2 win over Montrose on August 29th where he finished with a brace.

Winning awards is nothing new for Osadolor as he was a prolific player in the U.S., having incredible success in the college game and with the NPSL.

During his time with Tiffin University, he was an All-Region and two-time All-GLIAC performer over three seasons, twice leading the Dragons to the NCAA Regionals. He would also garner GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week honors while at TU.

Osadolor suggests that Tiffin head coach Rudy Brownell did a lot for his development.

“At the time we had our moments as he played me left back, but looking back I can honestly say that I thank him so much for being hard on me and pushing me on because I truly believe it’s part of that toughness and adaptability that made me push on to get to the next level.  I would recommend the Tiffin University soccer program to anyone who believes they are good enough and mentally tough enough to handle it because a lot is expected.”

Osadolor would earn a host of awards in the NPSL with Zanesville Athletic FC and AFC Cleveland, including National Player of the Week, Buffalo.com’s NPSL Great Lakes Conference Midseason Best XI, and Buffalo.com’s NPSL Great Lakes Conference Futures Best XI.

And he found the NPSL as a great way to get to the pro game.

“My experience in the NPSL really helped me prepare in terms of my understanding of the game. It gave me a chance to learn about what’s needed in various attacking position. It also allowed me to express myself as a football player.  I believe that when you can express yourself then that’s when you can truly shine and the NPSL and AFC Cleveland gave the opportunity I needed to do that.”

Simply put, it was no surprise that he’s had such incredible success as a player in Scotland.  Having that kind of success in a top league is impressive, especially when you hear Osadolor describe the quality and style of play in Scotland.

“The quality is very intense. It’s really physical and sometimes it feels like it is just a battle before quality finally comes through. You need to fight for every ball and make good decisions when you have it because missing a chance can prove costly.  I’ll definitely say it’s more direct compared to the U.S. There is more long balls whereas in the U.S. everyone is really fit so the intensity is a lot higher throughout the game.”

Smart’s an exciting and dynamic player, one that is incredibly versatile and has the right attitude to move forward.

“I would definitely say I am one that enjoys taking on people, taking on defenders, and providing goals for other people.  But at the same time, there is no better feeling then putting the ball in the back of the net.  I just love scoring and making goals for my teammates whenever I can.”

Osadolor describes himself as a right midfielder or right wing-forward.  Others see his future at left back or center forward.  And he has a simple explanation for making the decision.

“It just depends on what the coach sees in you and what he believes you can bring to the team. After all, it’s all about the team!”

After reading all of this, it’s easy to decide that Smart Osadolor has great potential in the global game and that his future is incredibly bright.  The sky’s limit for the young star who got his start in the NPSL.

“I am very ambitious and I have always said that I would like to play at the highest level I possibly can. I just want to keep moving forward and keep progressing. For me it’s not about the fame, money, or glory. It’s all about progression and doing something I loving, knowing all those other things will surely follow as a bonus. I would like to see myself playing on TV week in and week out, hopefully in a top league across the world. I guess it’s still a dream I’m chasing to become the best I can possibly be.”

Hopefully we’ll see Smart playing with Rangers or Celtic or even the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, or FC Barcelona. He’s that good and maybe we’ll also see him on the cover of his own video game someday soon.