Playing professional soccer was a dream for Elma Nfor — “at least one of them,” he said, and it’s come true.
Nfor, a 2014 graduate of Western Hills, joined the Lansing Ignite FC this spring. The team, based in Lansing, Michigan, is a member of the USL League One.
This is the first year for the league.
“It has definitely been what I expected,” Nfor said in a phone interview earlier this week. “Obviously there are little intricacies about things you never dream about. There are some things I really, really enjoy, and there are things I’m learning to enjoy.”
Ignite is 5-5-5 going into tonight’s game in Chattanooga, Tennessee, against the Chattanooga Red Wolves SC.
Nfor scored his first goal as a professional against Michigan State in the inaugural Capital Cup, a match Ignite won 4-0. He had both of the team’s goals in a 2-1 win over AFC Ann Arbor in the first round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Nfor came into pro soccer having won an NCAA Div. II national championship with Wingate University, located in Wingate, North Carolina.
“Obviously I’ve always worked hard to get to this point, but this is a different level of work,” he said about professional soccer. “It’s been extremely detail-oriented, and that’s something I’m learning to enjoy.
“I’m usually a go-with-the-flow kind of guy. I know what I want, and I just want to get there.
“Coach knows exactly what he wants to see on the field, exactly what he wants everyone to do to help the team, and if you’re not doing that, you won’t be playing.”
One of the pluses for Nfor has been his teammates.
“I enjoy the group of guys on the team,” he said. “I see them every day. We see a lot of each other. We practice together, travel together, and we stay in the same apartment complex.
“For me, they’re a great group of guys. If they weren’t a great group it would be difficult, but we’re constantly laughing, constantly having fun. It’s been a great experience.”
The last regular-season game for Ignite is Oct. 5.
“You’re always trying to be better, and there are the little details,” Nfor said. “I’m constantly working to be better on the field, off the field.”
For Nfor, there are more goals to be achieved in soccer.
“All of us are trying constantly to get to the next level,” he said about himself and his teammates, “but for right now I’m trying to refine my skills, refine my craft.
“Whether it’s the MLS or wherever I am, I want to get better at what I do.”