He was abandoned but not alone. His team became his family and now his future is bright.
At 19 years old, Leslie Adindu found himself abandoned by his father and living in a homeless shelter in Fort Worth, Texas.
The teen would persevere through this unimaginable hardship and go on to become a signed collegiate athlete.
When he and his father immigrated to Texas from Nigeria in 2019, a family dispute led to his father abandoning him in Texas and forcing him to live in a homeless shelter.
He found a roof over his head and a part-time job, working from 3:00 am – 7:00 am every day before school.
He was enrolled at Arlington Heights High School and was soon recruited by the football team to try out.
It was his sheer size that made him stand out immediately to the coaching staff.
At 6'1" and 190 pounds, Coach Charles Perry, Arlington Heights defensive line coach, approached Adindu about playing for the team.
Coming from Nigeria, Adindu says American-style football was never something he thought about playing. He was more interested in soccer.
Coach Perry and the rest of the team taught him the basics of football. After some convincing, he ended up playing on the defensive line for the junior varsity team.
"It was like teaching a baby how to walk," says Adindu.
When the pandemic hit, the team started holding virtual workouts and noticed Adindu wasn't online.
That's when his coaches first learned he was living in a homeless shelter.
This hardworking teen wasn't missing in action for long.
"Luckily, you know, he's very self-motivated and he took it upon himself to go find a place to live and get everything settled and then came to our summer workout and just showed up," says Coach Perry. "Then from that point, we were able to get back in touch with him and start working with him."
Then, another roadblock.
Adindu aged out of eligibility to play high school football in Fort Worth. His coaches tried to appeal but their request was denied.
That was the moment they devised a plan to have him still come to workouts and scrimmages, where they were able to put a highlight tape together.
Now, at 6'4" and close to 265 pounds, Leslie is a signed member of Southwest Baptist University football team. A Division II school in Bolivar, Missouri.
He accomplished all of this while working at 3 a.m., going to school full-time, and then working out after school with the team.
It was self-determination and with the help of his coaches and community that he is now off to college, a land of opportunity and promise.
Welcome to the family Leslie‼️#BearcatMis21on#RTBpic.twitter.com/OHUlugy672
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