Home NASL & USL FC Edmonton Ameobi comes into 2017 FCE season looking to recapture his 2015 form

Ameobi comes into 2017 FCE season looking to recapture his 2015 form

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FC Edmonton striker Tomi Ameobi is about halfway to his law degree; he’s been taking university correspondence courses as he works toward a legal post-soccer career.

But, for now, the law books have been closed. The courses have been scaled way back. Because Ameobi knows that he has to focus all his attention on making 2017 his bounce-back year.

“I see a different Tomi Ameobi, I’m saying that quite honestly,” said coach Colin Miller after Friday’s preseason training session at the Commonwealth Fieldhouse. “I had a long, heart-to-heart with Tomi at the end of last season and I told him that, by his standards, he underachieved.”

In 2015, before injury slowed him down, Ameobi was on a torrid pace. He outleapt defenders for balls in the air. He could hold up the ball. And his pace surprised defenders. He finished the season with seven goals and two assists in just 18 games. He figured in on a goal once every other game, a healthy return.

Miller said that, before Ameobi injured his toe “he was arguably the best striker in our league at the time.”

In 2016, he played in 30 NASL games, but scored only twice and added a single assist. He knows that things have to change in 2017.

“From the off, I already feel a lot better,” Ameobi said. “I’m in better shape, a better position than I was at the start of last season. That’s mostly thanks to the physios and the guys at the University of Alberta for putting the work in but, throughout the season, the one thing I need to improve on is my output in terms of goals. That’s one thing Colin and I talked about and it’s something we’re going to continue to work on during training camp.”

Ameobi has gone through a series of nagging injuries. But he won’t use them as an excuse.

“I think it was more psychological in terms of keeping my head in the right place, keeping that confidence.”

And he’s made the decision “to take a step back” from school to focus on football.

“My main focus, it always has been on football. But it will be even more so this year.”

Last season, as part of their preseason preparation, the Eddies faced Newcastle United’s U-21 side. At that time, Miller chatted with Magpies legend and coach Peter Beardsley. They talked about Ameobi and his famous brothers, Shola and Sammy — who all came up through Newcastle’s system. Miller said that Beardsley told him that there was a time when Tomi was rated the highest amongst the Ameobi brothers.

“I think he has the tools, the physical ability,” Miller said of Ameobi. “I want to see an angry Tomi Ameobi this season. I look at [Fanendo] Adi, the fellow who plays up front for Portland, and I see that Tomi Ameobi could be that player. He knows he underachieved last season. The incentive, and I’ve seen a reaction to that, is that he is bigger than he was last season, as well. He wants to play well. He wants to do well. He knows the head coach and the staff have been very loyal with him. We are good with Tomi, we have an excellent relationship. He is a leader with our club.”

 

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