- Ian Livingston Brooking
Former Coastal Carolina soccer player ready for professional career
In August of 2017, former Coastal Carolina men’s soccer forward Tobenna Uzo signed a professional contract with United Soccer League (USL) club Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
With the 2018 USL season starting on Mar. 17 for the Switchbacks, Uzo reflected on the moment he signed with the club and talked about his expectations for the season.
“When I got the call from the Switchbacks, I was like ‘Wow, I’m actually about to sign my first professional contract’,” said Uzo. “I was excited because I had been out there before in March earlier that year for tryouts, so they were familiar with my face and most of the guys were happy to see me back.”
Uzo played in six matches in the 2017 season and recorded one assist. Prior to his move to Colorado Springs, Uzo played for the US Pro Developmental League (PDL) Myrtle Beach Mutiny. During his time in Myrtle Beach, Uzo played in 14 games, scoring 13 goals.
Uzo opened up about what it was like to play summer soccer in Myrtle Beach and what he learned from the experience.
“Honestly, staying in Myrtle last year was great,” said Uzo. “I wasn’t ready to leave my Myrtle family just yet. I had the chance to play under Coach Kyle Russell from Coastal Carolina again, so I knew what to expect when it came to his coaching style, and I knew that he was going to want me to take a leadership role. Initially, I thought that playing in Myrtle maybe a setback from almost signing with an MLS club the year before. However, once I began to treat to it as another chance to get better and having a great season, that opened up more doors for me and I learned that blessings come in disguise.”
While Uzo only made six appearances for Colorado Springs towards the end of the 2017 season, the Switchbacks failed to make the USL playoffs by two points in the Western Conference Standings. Uzo talked about what was missing from last year’s team and how this year will be different.
“Chemistry wasn’t where it needed to be last year,” said Uzo. “This year, we are closely knitted and it helps the way we play on the field. Now I am here all season with the boys and I can pick up better on each player’s tendencies as they can mine.”
Being in Colorado Springs for a full season, Uzo now has the chance to do something he is known for – score goals. Uzo talked about what he is looking forward to the most this season.
“I am just excited to play my heart out for this club, improve every day and hopefully win a lot of games and make the playoffs in the process,” said Uzo. “I also anticipate learning things from my coaches and teammates who have way more experience than I have.”
One of the biggest things Uzo says he is going to have to adjust to is the temperature and altitude difference.
“The weather here is so bipolar,” said Uzo. “It snows one day, hot the next and then it hails the day after that. The elevation is what makes it so different from anywhere I have been.”
While Uzo wants to find the back of the net, he discussed what some of his personal goals were for the season.
“My goal is that my year brings all the glory to God and I enjoy this journey and bring others along with me,” said Uzo. “From every game to every training, I don’t want finish this year with any regrets.”