“I’d love to play professionally back in England one day, but first I need to conquer my mission in Germany,” said Daniel Olaoye, MSV Pampow’s latest signing.
The 23-year-old Londoner joined Ronny Stamer’s NOFV-Oberliga Nord outfit this summer ahead of the 2020/21 season, to become the club’s first British player.
The forward signed from VfR Mannheim, a lesser-known winner of Germany’s top flight over half a century ago. He sees this move as his next step on his journey to top-tier stardom.
He is not the first British player to try his luck in Germany, of course: Jadon Sancho and Reiss Nelson, who are among his closest friends, headline the crop of young talent to have made the journey across the North Sea in the last few seasons.
“I feel this is the place where I can most develop as a player,” he said. “There is more of an opportunity here to show what you are about, in a different environment which helps you grow as a player and person.
“My goal is to reach the Bundesliga or 2. Bundesliga. It won’t be easy but I think I can do it. I feel this move is a step up for me to improve and progress.
“Germany is great. The people here are very welcoming, and they are very friendly, I have a good feeling about the place.
“Some may not think my dream is possible but they maybe don’t have belief in their own ability, or what they are capable of achieving. It comes down to hunger and a good mindset.”
Olaoye, who played in the David Beckham Academy during junior school before moving into the English semi-professional game, has experience belying his years.
Alongside his twin, David, he moved to Greece to star for OFI Crete’s youth sides and then in AO Tymapkiou’s first-team in the 2016/17 season. The pair were spotted playing for Newham by Greek journeyman Kostas Kiassos, a former Panathanaikos midfielder with contacts in the football boardrooms of his home country.
The brothers went their separate ways after their contracts were not renewed in Greece. David moved to Slovenia’s NK Bravo, whilst Daniel joined Nordvarmlands FF of Sweden.
A goal-laden season in the Swedish Division 2 Norra Gotaland earned Daniel a trial with Borussia Dortmund II, Die Borussen’s reserve side, in late 2018. It was his first taste of football – and life – in Germany.
“Dortmund was an excellent experience,” he said. “I had a good period there and learned a lot. My coach there was Jan Siewert, who managed Huddersfield Town in the Premier League and now works at Mainz 05 in the Bundesliga. I still chat to him sometimes now.
“I chose to try Germany because the coaching is great, and it is somewhere I can work hard and improve. I also saw Jadon doing well, which is why I’m not the only one to have come here since.
“The standard there was very high, and I learned a lot in a short period of time. The level of detail coaches and players go into over here is not something I had not experienced before.
“I unfortunately could not stay at Dortmund, but it definitely gave me the drive to push to the very top of German football. It will be hard, but nothing is impossible in football.”
Olaoye’s near miss at Dortmund did, though, draw interest from other German sides. He joined VfR Mannheim, who were embarking on a journey back up the German football ladder after enduring financial troubles, for the 2019/20 season.
One campaign at the Rhein-Neckar-Stadion was enough to earn a move to Pampow, in a tier above, for 2020/21 as part of Stamer’s new-look side.
Olaoye said: “I was contacted by Pampow after they saw some of my games last season. They think I can improve and help the team.
“They have great facilities and want to give young players a chance, which is exactly what I want to be able to get my head down and flourish.
“I am not sad to have left my old club at all. I feel this is a step up for me to improve and progress as a player. There is a nice blend of youth and experience here.”
Nicknamed Die Piraten, The Pirates, they began their season with a 2-0 loss to SFC Stern 1900. But there is still plenty of time for them to realise their objective of earning promotion to the Regionalliga Nordost.
If Olaoye’s goals count can match his determination and self-belief, his dream of reaching the top level in Germany and England is a very real possibility, and time is certainly on his side.