There are few better places than Southampton for a British footballer to develop. Over the last couple years they’ve seen Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin, Wayne Bridge and Luke Shaw rise through their Academy. So when an American joins their Academy at the tender age of 10, people should take notice.
’95 US eligible Gboly Ariyibi joined Southampton Academy in 2005, following a successful year with youth club Quarry Rovers. Southampton seems to specialize in producing top-class wingers and wing-backs, so when the natural winger Ariyibi had a chance to join the Saints he jumped at the chance.
Ariyibi plays on either the left or right wing. He’s a two-footed player and has speed for days. Like any good winger he enjoys taking on players in 1v1 situations and has a flair to him. A 6’0”, he’s got a good frame for his talents.
In the 2012-2013 season, as a U18 Academy player, Ariyibi moved up to train with the Southampton first team on several occasions. He also linked up with the Southampton U21s six times and made three appearances.
However, Ariyibi is at a delicate age for young footballers. He’s now too old for the U18 Academy and is hoping to secure a professional contract. “I’ve had trials at a few clubs, and should be all sorted in the next three weeks or so,” Ariybi told OWTY. Ariyibi continued “I am looking to secure a professional contract here in England. A few Championship/League 1 clubs, and possibly Cardiff, want to see me. I would like to be in the Championship. Brentford, Oxford United, Oxford City, Birmingham City and Bournemouth have expressed the most interest in me as of late.”
Ariyibi has also made his international status very clear: he would love to represent the United States. He has had no contact yet with US Soccer. “I am confident that I am good enough to represent the US Under-20 national squad,” Ariyibi said. “I just haven’t been given the chance yet, but I would love to show the federation what I can do.”