From Non-League to England with Omer Riza

Can you tell us about your journey in sport as a child?
I was always energetic at a young age. My dad used to take me to the park just to burn off some energy really, so I could sleep at night! So he had me running around with the ball in the park from quite early on, just for enjoyment!

I did a little bit of everything as a child. I was quite athletic and enjoyed running and was also a champion in Karate and went on to get my black belt at around 11 years old. Football came a little bit later on when I started playing for the school and the junior teams.

Before I was scouted at Arsenal though, I was rejected at Leyton Orient and Watford, funnily enough that’s gone full circle now! I got into Arsenal at around 10-11 years old and was at the club for about 10 years. I got my debut there and played through all the youth systems and went on to have my career in football from then onwards.

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