By Scott Taylor
Sam Adekugbe is the third and final known trialist who featured in Liverpool Under 21s’ recent 2-0 victory against Birmingham City. The other two trialists were Club Brugge winger Emmanuel Oti Essigba and fellow Vancouver Whitecaps defender Christian Dean. Adekugbe, 19, along with Dean were part of a Liverpool defence which kept a clean sheet.
Born in London, Adekugbe grew up playing with Manchster side AFC Clayton until he moved across the pond to Canada at the age of nine. From 2004-2011, the defender played for Calgary Foothills, spending his first five years with the Saints, before playing out his final two seasons with the Rapids.
Between 2011 and 2013, Adekugbe featured for a Whitecaps FC Residency side. During his time there, he made 60 appearances, starting 55 of them. He also was part of an Under 18s side that qualified for the US Soccer Development Academy Finals in consecutive seasons. In August 2013, Adekugbe received permanent residency in Canada, which made him eligible to play as a domestic player for Canadian clubs on the MLS roster. It was also when he signed a homegrown contract with the Vancouver Whitecaps and in doing so becoming the seventh homegrown player to ever sign for the Whitecaps in their whole history. After starting his Whitecaps career with the Under 23 side, the defender made three appearances before being promoted to the senior side, where he has played five games thus far.
Along with Dean and Essigba, Adekugbe has also had international experience. The defender played in the 2013 COTIF Under 20 tournament for Canada’s Under 18s side. His major breakthrough came a year later, when he received his first ever call up to the Canadian national side. Head coach Benito Floro used him as an unused substitute in the games against Mauritania, despite being only 19 years of age. Adekugbe now plays for Canada’s Under 20 side and made his debut last month against his native side England. Overall, Adekugbe has gone on to make one appearance for Canada Under 18s and three appearances for the Under 20 sides.
Despite being a Manchester City fan, his dream is to play at Old Trafford. He looks up to Roma left-back Ashley Cole, and if he is to have half the career of what Cole had, then Liverpool are in luck with this up and coming left-back.
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