Monday, September 1, 2014

From NCAA soccer to Chelsea's executive: Michael Emenalo

Please also see my
 All-Time World Cup Team Index.

Michael Emenalo is one of the few Black executive in English football.  At the time of writing, he is criticised by Chelsea fans for his mismanagement of recent transfers.   However, at one point, he was considered to be a genius at the "art" of football transfers.  His assent to the top of football world was very dramatic.

Emenalo left Nigeria for a college education in the US.  He joined Boston University in 1986, where he excelled in both classroom and the soccer field.  He earned "All-American" selection while at BU. Upon graduation, he went to play for Molenbeek in Belgium, Eintracht Trier in Germany and Notts County F.C in England before going back to the MLS. Emenalo was part of the original allocated players for Major League Soccer and spent two seasons (1996–97) with the San Jose Clash. After that, he played with Lleida in Spain and Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.  

He was capped 14 times by Nigeria, and played all but one of Nigeria's game at USA 1994.

At Maccabi Tel Aviv, he played under Avram Grant and Grant was impressed with his intelligence.  When Grant went to Chelsea, he brought Emenalo with him in 2007.  Perhaps, he was one of the few professional players with a college degree.   He quickly worked his way up.  On 8 July 2011, Chelsea appointed Emenalo Technical Director, making him one of the most powerful men at the club.  His responsibilities include heading the scouting and academy programs. 

Emenalo went to Boston University and became one of the few Black, football executive  in Europe.

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