There is plenty of excitement surrounding the progress of Taiwo Awoniyi, who has been one of Bundesliga’s deadliest marksmen.
Futbalgalore.com.ng takes an in-depth look at his goal-laden career so far.
Taiwo was born on the 12th of August 1997 in Kwara State. He was born in the city of Illorin to be precise, to retired police officer Solomon Awoniyi and his wife. This puts Taiwo Awoniyi age at just over 24 years as of 2022. A young Taiwo grew up in Ilorin in a closed knit Christian family. He completed his basic education in Ilorin, including the compulsory 6 years in a secondary school (Government Day Secondary School GDSS Aiport, Ilorin).
Picking this career path did come with resistance from his parents, who wanted the young man to pursue academic qualifications that would prepare him for a white-collar job. On the other hand, Taiwo, who has been likened to the legendary Rashidi Yekini had his mind fixed on playing soccer and nothing was going to sway him. So when the Imperial Soccer Academy came calling in 2010, it was a sure “No going back Mission”. The Imperial Soccer Academy had a lot of convincing to do before Taiwo’s parents would let him join the soccer academy. Taiwo Awoniyi would finally join the Imperial Soccer Academy in 2010 when he was only 13 years of age. This move marked the beginning of his inevitable sojourn into the world of professional soccer
The Imperial Soccer Academy owned by former English Premier League superstar, Seyi Olofinjana and his partner Atiba Bankole provided the platform required to nurture the raw talent Taiwo was blessed with. The academy provided the structured learning and character training required to become top soccer professional. Taiwo would spend 5 eventful years at the academy before finally making the big move to Europe. In those 5 years, Taiwo Awoniyi was lucky to have represented Nigerian national U-17 and U-20 youth sides at continental and international tournaments. Taiwo would help the U-20 side clinch the African Youth Championship held in Senegal early in 2015, two years after helping the U-17 side clinch the FIFA U-17 World Cup in UAE.
His big move to Liverpool in 2015 lined the Imperial Soccer Academy pocket with about £400,000 a figure paid to them as part of the agreement that saw Taiwo move to Mersey side.
Having signed for Jürgen Klopp’s side as an 18-year-old in August 2015, Awoniyi was immediately sent on loan to Bundesliga 2 outfit FSV Frankfurt.
One goal in 13 league appearances followed but FSV suffered relegation to the third tier that year, and Awoniyi spent the subsequent three seasons farmed out to NEC Nijmegen in the Netherlands and both Mouscron and Gent in Belgium.
He returned to Germany with a stint at Mainz in 2019/20.
Taiwo Awoniyi first joined Union Berlin in September 2020 on a loan deal from Liverpool and scored five goals in a season disrupted by injuries.
But Union had seen enough of his quality to shell out £6.5 million for his services and bring him back to Stadion An der Alten Försterei on a permanent basis.
Goals galore at Union Berlin
Some players when joining a new club need a period of time to settle in before reaping the rewards. However, Awoniyi took to the German Bundesliga like a duck to water and continued his impressive goalscoring form with Union Berlin.
In his first season as a full Union player, Awoniyi banged 20 goals to help the team finish fifth in the 2021/22 Bundesliga season, their highest-ever league finish.
Thanks to Awoniyi, The Iron Ores will play in the Europa League next season for the first time in their history, building on a Europa Conference League campaign this season.
That sort of impact makes Awoniyi’s inclusion in the all-time Union Berlin greats list understandable as the Nigerian has been a catalyst for success for the club.
The 24-year old has spent just one year out of his contract which leaves him with much more time to build on his Union Berlin legacy.
Awoniyi has represented Nigeria at all age groups from the Under-15s right the way up to the senior side.
Awoniyi represented Nigeria at the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup and went on to win the tournament, scoring four goals during the competition. He also represented Nigeria at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand after winning the 2015 African U-20 Championship in Senegal.
On 12 April 2015, he scored a brace on his debut for the Nigeria U-23 team in a match against Zambia, as his team went on to qualify for the 2015 All African Games.
He was selected by Nigeria for their 35-man provisional squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
He was selected by Gernot Rohr in late 2021 to represent Nigeria at the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, making his debut in their 1-0 loss to the Central African Republic. Awoniyi was selected to represent Nigeria at the AFCON 2021 where he led the line for Nigeria throughout the tournament. His only goal during the tournament came in the 3-1 group stage win against Sudan.