Portland, Ore.-Lakeridge High School has declared Elvis Akpla the new head football coach.
The former NFL player’s football success has not come without obstacles.
Originally from western Africa, Akpla was raised by a single mother. Akpla and his mother were able to move from Dakar, Senegal to Lake Oswego, Oregon with the help of a relocation program.
When he arrived in Oregon, Akpla spoke no English. Akpla became obsessed with learning English and used Seinfeld to teach himself the language.
With the help of Jerry and the rest of the Seinfeld crew, Akpla became fluent in a matter of months.
In high school, Akpla ran track and played football. Akpla’s track success landed him a track scholarship at University of Oregon. But with the love for football still in his veins, it was not long before Akpla decided to exchange his track cleats for a U of O football helmet.
After his sophomore year at U of O, Akpla transferred to Montana State to play football and was an athletic and academic All-American and Big Sky Conference first-team receiver.
Akpla was drafted to the play for the Philadelphia Eagles following graduation.
After a short NFL career, Akpla chose to coach football instead of going on to become a doctor.
Now, with the weight of coaching the young men of the Lakeridge football program on his shoulders, Akpla coaches using the philosophy “be a teacher first, be a coach second.”
Despite many eyes on him, Akpla says he does not feel pressure.
“There is nothing better than being able to change a youngin’s life,” Akpla said. “It’s the best thing on earth so it is going to be fun. It’s going to be a good time.”
To learn more about Akpla’s story, click the video.