Oakton men’s soccer players earns All-America honors
(Dec. 11, 2018) Oakton Community College men’s soccer forward Bukola Abdulwahab-Omotose (Ilorin, Nigeria/British Nigerian Academy) was named to the 2018 United Soccer Coaches Junior College Men’s Division I All-America Team. The explosive sophomore is a second-team selection and will be honored at the 2019 United Soccer Coaches Convention Saturday, Jan. 12, in Chicago.
Abdulwahab-Omotose, who goes by the nickname “Bukky” and was named Oakton’s male student-athlete of the month for September, led the Owls in scoring with 58 points (24 goals, 10 assists), ranking fourth in the nation in goals scored. He helped his team reach the finals of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region IV Championship and a 13-7 overall record.
“I wasn’t expecting this award at all, but it’s very exciting to be honored,” Abdulwahab-Omotose says. “The recognition is great. However, the reason I had such a good season was because of all the players around me and the coaching staff.”
Owls head coach Steve Brody says that the forward is very deserving of the accolade: “Bukky worked very hard to achieve success at Oakton, and I’m very proud of him. I’m excited to see how much further he can grow as a player as he moves on to his next challenge.”
The All-American honor caps off a season of awards for Abdulwahab-Omotose, who currently resides in Chicago. His postseason accolades also include being named to the NJCCA Region IV All-Region Men’s Soccer Team and the Illinois Skyway Conference (ISCC) Men’s Soccer All-Conference First Team.
“To me, soccer is a way of life,” Abdulwahab-Omotose says. “When I’m on the field, nothing else matters. I feel so comfortable playing the game and its way of channeling energy in a positive way.”
Guatemalan native named Oakton male student-athlete of the month
(Nov. 7, 2018) Oakton forward Bukola Abdulwahab-Omotose (Ilorin, Nigeria/British Nigerian Academy) and defender and captain Brian Ramos (Addison/Addison Trail High School), received countrywide postseason recognition by being named to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region IV All-Region Men’s Soccer Team. Abdulwahab-Omotose, who was named Oakton’s male student-athlete of the month for September, led the Owls in scoring with 58 points (24 goals, 10 assists), ranking fourth in the nation in goals scored. Ramos anchored a stingy defense that allowed just 1.36 goals per game on the season. Oakton (13-7) finished the season Oct. 27 with a 2-0 loss to Morton College in the NJCAA Region IV Championship.
In addition, Abdulwahab-Omotose, Ramos and midfielder Sebastian Padua (Mexico City, Mexico/Addison Trail High School) earned spots on the Illinois Skyway Conference All-Conference Men’s Soccer Team. Abdulwahab-Omotose was named to the first team, Ramos was a second-team selection and Padua was an honorable mention. Owls head coach Steve Brody says that the Oakton trio were deserving of their post-season accolades: “The sophomores dedicated themselves to the sport this season. I’m proud of each one of them for their commitment to the Oakton soccer program and their teammates.”
Guatemalan native named Oakton male student-athlete of the month
(Oct. 16, 2018) Oakton Community College sophomore Pablo Custodio (Guatemala City, Guatemala/Futeca High School) has been selected the college’s male student-athlete of the month for October. The student-athlete of the month is presented nine months during the year to one male and one female student-athlete displaying excellence in the areas of academics, athletics and campus involvement or service.
“To be recognized with this award is awesome,” says Custodio, who lives with a host family in Mount Prospect. “I wear the Oakton shirt with pride, and I try my best to represent the college and my home country as well.”
Custodio, who plays baseball and soccer for the Oakton Owls, sports a 3.2 GPA. He is involved in the Association to Nurture and Develop the Advancement of Latinos in Education (¡ANDALE!) at Oakton, which supports the personal, emotional, social, academic and career development of Latino/a/x students. He takes his responsibilities of being a role model for others seriously, especially for other Latinx students.
“I try to serve as a role model to demonstrate that hard work does pay off in the end,” Custodio says.
Custodio came to Oakton in spring 2017 and was recruited to play baseball by head coach Bill Fratto. During the 2018 season he served as a vital contributor for Oakton’s first-ever national championship team (44-17), amassing a .353 batting average, belting 11 home runs and driving in 42 runs. This fall, he is playing his first season as goalkeeper for the Oakton men’s soccer team. He plans on attending Cumberland University in the spring, where he intends to study international business on a full baseball scholarship.
“Many of my fellow Latino players look up to me,” he says. “I try to guide them on and off the field to be the best they can be and learn from my experiences. Also, I always try to be humble and listen to my coaches and express how important it is to always respect others.”
Fratto, who presented Custodio and the rest of the Oakton Owls with championship rings at a presentation ceremony Saturday, Sept. 29, said he is deserving of the honor: “Pablo is an outstanding kid, and his work ethic is off the charts. He also has tremendous character and is living proof that determination will pay dividends.”
And Custodio says playing a new sport this fall has been a great experience. “There is a strong bond between all the players, and we’re like family. No matter what sport I play for Oakton, I leave everything on the field.”
Owls head coach Steve Brody says that Custodio helps set the tone for the men’s soccer team: “Since joining the team, Pablo has worked extremely hard to improve himself and sets out to be a leader on and off the field.”
Succeeding on and off the field is serious business for Custodio. This fall, he practices soccer and baseball from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. before getting to work.
“What works best for me is to do my school work and studying done right when I get home,” he says. “It’s also important that I plan ahead so I don’t get too far behind. Time management is key. All my family is back in Guatemala and even though I find it difficult not having them here, I work hard to accomplish my goals to make them proud of me.”
Nigerian native Abdulwahab-Omotose named Oakton male student-athlete of the month
(Sept. 19, 2018) Oakton Community College sophomore Bukola “Bukky” Abdulwahab-Omotose (Ilorin, Nigeria/British Nigerian Academy) has been named as the college’s male student-athlete of the month for September. The student-athlete of the month is presented nine months during the year to one male and one female student-athlete who display excellence in the areas of academics, athletics and campus involvement or service.
Abdulwahab-Omotose is an explosive forward for the Oakton Owls men’s soccer team who leads the squad in scoring. He also sports a 3.2 GPA and is actively involved at the college as a student ambassador.
“To be recognized with this award means the world to me,” Abdulwahab-Omotose says. “It shows I’m on the right path and appreciated for my efforts. I’m especially appreciative because it will help encourage others that their success on and off the field doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Soccer has been ingrained in his brain since he was two years old. Growing up in Africa, Abdulwahab-Omotose would play the sport any chance he had.
“In Nigeria, I would play soccer anywhere I could,” he says. “We would make a soccer field using sticks and chairs or play on concrete. I’ve been playing the sport as long as I can remember and learned a lot about soccer from my older brothers. As kids, we would play up to six hours a day or until it got too dark outside. I took so much pride in playing and it was a family joke that if my grandmother was in goal, I would shoot right past her and not have any pity on her.”
Abdulwahab-Omotose, who can run the 100-meter dash in 11.56 seconds, says soccer is second nature to him.
“The game is about speed and I enjoy giving defenders fits,” he says. “I want to score every time I touch the ball and want to win every game. To me, soccer is a way of life. When I’m on the field, nothing else matters. I feel so comfortable playing the game and its way of channeling energy in a positive way.”
Owls head coach Steve Brody says that Abdulwahab-Omotose is deserving of the honor: “Bukky is a key player for us as he provides enormous fire power whenever he’s on the field. Also, he is a tremendous, talented and dedicated student-athlete. Bukky is a leader on the field and a role model for other student-athletes off the field.”
When he isn’t scoring for the Owls, Abdulwahab-Omotose enjoys making an impression on others as a student ambassador. Launched in 2006, the program gives current students the opportunity to share their positive Oakton experiences with prospective students—and to serve as a resource for new students making the leap to college.
“I love interacting with other people and encouraging others to want to come to the college,” he says. “I can relate to visiting students, especially international students. As an ambassador, I try to make everyone feel comfortable and tell them how good the education is here.”
The Chicago resident has been serving as a student ambassador since 2017 and says the position has been an invaluable part of his college education.
“It shows my opinion matters and helps me with my public speaking,” he explains. “Being a student ambassador also provides me with a lot of confidence because I’m always talking with people and has taught me how to better communicate with others.”
Oakton men’s soccer ready to continue success this fall
(Aug. 22, 2018) This season, Oakton Community College men’s soccer coach Steve Brody, who enters his 19th year at the helm, is confident he has the pieces in place to improve upon last year’s 10-5-2 record.
“Whenever you win at least 10 games, expectations are going to be high,” Brody says. “With the combination of returning players and incoming freshmen, we should be stronger offensively than we were a year ago. This season, we’re expecting to play a fast-paced offensive scheme.”
A main reason for such high hopes is the return of explosive forward Bukola Abdulwahab-Omotose (Ilorin, Nigeria/British Nigerian Academy), who led the Owls with 40 points (18 goals, 4 assists) in 2017.
“Bukola will be a key player for us as he provides enormous fire power whenever he’s on the field,” Brody says. “He’s a hard player to stop offensively.”
Another key piece is returning defender and Owls captain Brian Ramos (Addison/Addison Trail High School).
“Brian is a smart player who reads the game well,” Brody says. “His leadership and work ethic are exceptional.”
According to Brody, other returning players expected to make an impact in 2018 include defender/midfielder Laith Zaibal (Skokie/Niles West High School), midfielder Sebastian Padua (Mexico City, Mexico/Addison Trail High School), midfielder/forward Steven Younus (Baghdad, Iraq/Mather High School) and midfielder Daniel Gamaonov (Clearwater, Florida/Maine East High School).
Freshmen to keep an eye on include defender David Zlotnik (Glenview/Glenbrook South High School) and midfielders Johnny Trujillo (Evanston/Evanston Township High School), Jonathan Medina (Waukegan/Waukegan High School), Rafael Barbosa (Sao Paolo, Brazil/Colegio Salzueiro) and Giovanni Guarnero (Carpentersville/Barrington High School).
“This is one of the strongest and deepest recruiting classes we’ve had in a long time,” Brody says. “I’m expecting many of the newcomers to make an immediate impact.”
Freshmen Kenner Garcia (Nandaime, Nicaragua/Foreman High School) and Onel Yousif (Baghdad, Iraq/Niles North High School) are expected to see playing time in goal.
The Owls open the 2018 season on the road at Kishwaukee College Aug. 22.