Texas Teen Overcomes Homelessness to Receive Football Scholarship
"Just don't give up. Do the best you can and leave the rest to God."
Leslie Adindu was 18 years old when he immigrated to Fort Worth, Texas, from Nigeria with his father last year. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior quickly caught the eye of Charles Perry, a football coach at Arlington Heights High School.
Adindu had never played a football in his life. In fact, he was more interested in playing soccer. But after some convincing, he joined the defensive line on the junior varsity football team.
"He didn't know how to put the pads on. He didn't know the rules of the game, it was a clean slate," Arlington Heights head coach Phil Young told Dave Campbell's Texas Football. "Think about it, you come across the world, to a new country, to play a new game. It's tough and he just worked and worked, and he made some great strides as a junior."
But as Adindu excelled on the football field, things at home were deteriorating. And when COVID-19 struck, his coaches lost touch with him.
It turns out that he and his father got into a fight. His father had moved to New Orleans, leaving Adindu homeless, living in a shelter, and working nights.
And then, another obstacle. By the time he made the varsity football team, the 6'3" 285-pound senior was 19 years old: two weeks too old to play high school football.
"Obviously he was disappointed," Perry told KXAS-TV. "But he tried to see the big picture."
Even though he was not allowed to play, Adindu's coaches hatched a plan.
"I told Leslie if he came to school every day and showed up at practice and worked out, we'd play him in our scrimmages to get a little tape out there, we'd bug every college coach in the country at every school we could until we found someone who'd give him a shot," Young told Dave Campbell's Texas Football.
And that's exactly what Adindu did.
"For Leslie to do that, just shows what kind of heart he has," Young continued. "There aren't a lot of kids who would keep showing up and working after being told they were ineligible. For him to do that, made us work even harder to find him a spot."
The plan worked out. Despite having never played in a varsity game, the coaches at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri, saw potential in Adindu and offered him a scholarship.
Last week Adindu signed a letter of intent to join their football team.
The 19-year-old offered some advice for others facing hardships.
"Basically, don't give up," he told KXAS-TV. "Most people would have given up. Just don't give up. Do the best you can and leave the rest to God."
We're rooting for you, Leslie!