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Nedum Onuoha Believes Future Of Soccer In North America Is Bright

Zlatan Ibrahimovic #9 of Los Angeles Galaxy yells at Nedum Onuoha #14 of Real Salt Lake following Ibrahimovic's goal during the second half of a game at Dignity Health Sports Park on April 28, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Real Salt Lake center-back, Nedum Onuoha, has enjoyed the luxury of playing professional soccer for 14 years. His journey has been illustrious, to say the least. Onuoha joined Tom Hackett and Spencer Warne on the latest episode of The Lions Den to discuss how his life has shaped him into the man he is today.

Post Soccer Career

When asked about his career path post soccer career, the options are endless. During his years in high school, Onuoha was a straight-A student. He grew up in a household that put a big priority on school. If Onuoha did not comply with his parent’s strict academic schedule, he would not be allowed to play soccer. Banning soccer was the punishment in the Onuoha household growing up.

Onuoha is still very unsure as to what the future holds following the conclusion of his playing days.

However, the recent launch of his new podcast, Kickback With Nedum Onuoha, would suggest that he is considering joining the media ranks.

Prior to joining Real Salt Lake, Onuoha had stints with Manchester City, Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers. Despite being a center-back, Onuoha has a unique ability to find the back of the net. Which he demonstrated to the world when he skillfully weaved his way through the defense of Chelsea and poked the ball past Peter Cech in November of 2010. The goal was later nominated as Premier League Goal Of The Week.

Future Of Soccer In USA

When asked about what he believes the future of soccer in North America looks like, Onuoha was blunt.

“It is very difficult to say,” Onuoha said. “One of the biggest issues I have with how the league operates is that they put such an emphasis on the big stars. Wayne Rooney vs. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, when it should be D.C. United vs. Galaxy.”

The notion that the United States has other sports and leagues that have much more history than MLS is also a problem Onuoha sees for the sport of soccer in the US. American football, hockey, basketball and the like are all leagues that have been around for many years. MLS does not have the history that it’s sporting competitors have, which will be a problem for the sport moving forward.

However, the sport has grown drastically since the league’s arrival in 1995 and that is promising.

One Year Left

Onuoha only has one year left on his contract. If the 2020 season were not to return, Onuoha’s RSL career could potentially be over.

Nonetheless, Onuoha has loved every minute of his time spent in Utah, stating that “this has been the most fun 18 months of my career so far.”

The Podcast

The Lion’s Den is an insider’s look at the Claret-and-Cobalt, hosted by KSL Sports personality Tom Hackett and RSL radio personality Spencer “The Guv” Warne. The podcast features exclusive access to players and Real Salt Lake personnel. Hackett and Warne talk soccer both inside and outside the state of Utah, while discussing aspects of the game both on and off the pitch. Join Hackett and ‘Spenno’ each week as they talk all things RSL.

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Tom Hackett is a Utah and Real Salt Lake Insider for and host of the It’s Utah’s World Podcast (Utah Football themed) and The Lion’s Den Podcast (Real Salt Lake themed). Follow him on Twitter: @TomCantHackett.