Many of us have had to overcome some form of struggle in our lives, but for some people that struggle inspires them to greatness. When he was just a boy, the Carolina Panthers defensive end was a million miles away from the NFL, but through hard work and determination, he made it. This is Efe Obada’s story, working his way from a tough situation to playing football in front of thousands.
Taken from his parents
When Obada was just a young boy, he and his family moved from Nigeria to the Netherlands. From there, he was ‘taken’ from the Netherlands along with his sister to London. Obada and his sister were separated from their mother and were promised that this person taking them to London would look after them. That was not the case.
Obada and his sister would find themselves living on the streets from the moment they got to London, at the age of 10. This was a tough situation for someone so young and were it not for the generosity of a kind stranger, Obada may have remained on London’s streets. He and his sister were given shelter by a security guard in the tower that he worked in, and from there the young Obada could start putting his life together.
Keeping his family life separate
Time passed by, and Obada grew up to find work in a factory in London. He and his sister found a temporary home, before moving on and ending up living in 10 different foster homes during his childhood. Today Obada ensures he keeps the identity of his sister out of the press, and after finding love, he also holds the identity of his wife a secret. For Obada, his family life is for him, and his football life is for everyone else.
Trials and tribulations
At 6 ft 6 in, Obada had the physique to play American football, but he had never even considered it while living in London. The sport isn’t commonly played in the United Kingdom, although it is becoming more popular. Obada first found the sport in 2015 when he joined the London Warriors football team, and it didn’t take long for him to impress the right people.
He was spotted by the Dallas Cowboys, who offered him a trial and quickly signed him. Obada was put at defensive end because the learning curve wasn’t so steep for someone who had never played American football. The Cowboys opted against signing Obada, and he had similar disappointments with the Falcons and Chiefs. Eventually the Panthers took a gamble on Obada, and since then, he has been a permanent fixture in their defense.
Finding family in the locker room
Obada has come a long way since being a homeless child on the streets of London. He pretty much grew up without any family other than his sister and says his relationships in the locker room feel like family to him. The defensive end played all 16 regular-season games in 2019 and was even an honorary captain for the Panthers game in London. Obada is at home in the NFL, and it seems as though the best is yet to come from this international star.