My fascinated Euro-America-centric mind just spent a good bit of time reading about various languages and dialects of the Volta-Niger family, the biggest of which apparently is Yoruba, spoken mostly in west and central Nigeria as well as Benin. As best as I can tell, Fikayo Tomori (full name Oluwafikayomi Oluwadamilola Tomori) is a Yoruba name. This doesn't really matter, but I was curious if I could find out any more information about his Nigerian parents. I couldn't, but I did learn about Yoruba, so I've got that going for me.
Anyway, Tomori was born to Nigerian parents in Calgary, Canada, but by the age of eight, he was over in London and part of Chelsea Academy. So he's yet another one of these life-long True Blues who are now starting to come of age and of talent and are knocking on the door of greatness. He broke onto the public scene last season, often playing for the U21s as a first year scholar.
@BenJoyceFoot No academy player has taken a bigger stride this season than Tomori. Boy to man.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) May 10, 2016
Now 18, Tomori has been the breakout defensive star in the Academy, playing a key part in our FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth Cup double triumph. His efforts were rewarded with a spot on the bench Wednesday at Anfield alongside fellow teenagers Kasey Palmer and Tammy Abraham. Only Abraham got to make his debut, but Tomori was buzzing as well, as the kids say these days.
Unreal experience being on the bench tonight, hard work doesn't stop . Thanks for all the messages .— Fikayo Tomori (@FikayoT19) May 11, 2016
Chelsea aren't the only ones excited by the young defender's progress. He was called on by Canada U20s in November, and they are certainly hoping he will choose them eventually at the senior level as well. Tomori remains eligible for England and Nigeria as well.
"He loves to defend, he's an out-and-out defender. He loves the 1-v-1 defending, he's very good in those situations. He has a desire, an aggression about him, to win the ball back. It's a trait we've almost lost in our modern defenders."
"He brings a lot of experience to our group. He's not the most vocal of players, but that experience, you can see it in the way that he competes."
-Rob Gale, Canada U20 head coach; source MLS Soccer
It's easy to get carried away by teenagers' star turns in the Academy, but the current crop of youngsters coming up through the ranks at Chelsea certainly seem a class above. It might take a few years, but surely, some of them have got to make it into the first-team, right? With our core group of defenders quickly aging themselves out of effectiveness and Kurt Zouma the only lock as far as the next generation is concerned (and that's assuming he recovers properly from his ACL tear), perhaps Tomori will be the one to make that leap? So far so good! What this space...
2016 is my year of success☝ ️⚽️. pic.twitter.com/kiDZzwhDzo— Fikayo Tomori (@FikayoT19) December 28, 2015