Shola is an ex-professional football player who was raised on the Gilpin square estate, which is a central hub on the infamous “murder mile” of Hackney. At one point, the metropolitan police linked roughly 70% of London gang crime to Gilpin square.
As an aspiring young footballer, most kids were going to football training with both parents but his Mum was working 2 jobs and his father was non-existent, yet he still managed to gain a 3-year scholarship with Wimbledon FC and make his First Team debut at the tender age of 19. He achieved this while most of his peers were out smoking and drinking amongst other things.
He has always been noted for his leadership and his ability to get things done, in particular when he was selected to lead his team on the Duke of Edinburgh Award. This was also evident when attending college as part of his scholarship, as he opted to study Cisco Computer Networking instead of the much-advised option of sports science.
He signed a professional contract with Wimbledon at 19 then went on to play 42 games for Wimbledon FC and MK Dons in the league & FA Cup first before joining Woking FC where he played a further 29 games.
The loss of a childhood friend led Shola to seek out a suitable knife & gun crime charity to volunteer his services. Since he was fortunate enough to make it out of such a negative environment, he felt he could help a few others do the same. He launched I Have A Gift with ex teammate Lionel Morgan, out of sheer frustration, as he could not find a suitable charity that was doing much for young people in the actual deprived neighbourhoods that needed help most.
I Have A Gift has a mission to reduce the impact of gang crime by working with and empowering under privileged young people to harness their gifted potential so they can achieve a better future.
He recently has been involved in the developing and delivery of equality/diversity workshops to football clubs including West Ham United and Southampton, on behalf of the Premier League and the PFA as part of the Premier League EPPP program.