Eddie Onamade: Championship winning football export from Bristol, England

When the scoreboard clock hit all zeros on October 24, 2020, the Carlstad Crusaders began celebrating. They had just captured their first Swedish championship since 2017 but they had also prevented their arch rivals, the Stockholm Mean Machines, from winning their third Swedish title in a row.

A key part of Carlstad’s success this past season came from 22-year-old British defensive back Eddie Onamade.

Onamade is still in awe of winning the championship:

“It’s an amazing feeling, there was a lot of strong opinions on who was going to win leading up to the game which made it even sweeter when we finally put those gold medals around our neck.”

Eddie Onamade #4 batting down a pass against London Blitz receiver

A 6’, 190 pound defensive back, Onamade was a key part of the Crusaders tough defense that helped them smother opposing offenses all season. The young Brit finished the season with 18 tackles and two interceptions in six games in Sweden. Onamade, who calls Bristol home, started playing football at the age of 14 for the Bristol Academy Pride. As a member of the Pride, Onamade found out about a tryout for Great Britain’s junior national team. After struggling with a little self doubt, the ambitious defensive back decided to give it his best shot.

“I had nothing to lose and I went. A few weeks later I’m in the 75 man roster, a few practices later I make the 45 man travel roster for a friendly game vs Sweden in Kristianstad.”

As a member of Great Britain’s national team, Onamade was part of key 2018 victory over Denmark in the 2018 junior European championships.

Eddie Onamade #12 defending against Team Denmark WR Photo: Bec Edwards

Furthering his academic and football education the national team defensive back chose to continue his career at Birmingham University. As a member of the Birmingham Lions, Onamada has been named a British university all-star for his outstanding play in the UK’s competitive university football leagues. The Swedish national champion is thankful for his student athlete experience:

“Uniball has been the most enjoyable experience I have had with football. The lions are a family, I have made some lifelong friends with my teammates, University is a place where people from a variety of different backgrounds come to study, a team like the lions gives us the opportunity to create friendships with people you wouldn’t normally approach.”

The Birmingham Lions all-star played the 2019 season with the Potsdam Royals alongside several other British players in the German Football League. While in Potsdam, Onamade made 23 tackles and had four pass breakups. The adjustment from UK’s Uni ball to the German Football League was not an easy one.

“There were players who have played in the NFL, stars from big D1 schools and national team players on my team and across the league. It was the highest standard of football I have played, and I held my own. In 14 games yes, I gave up passes and yes I gave up a touchdown but the experience made me a better player and opened my eyes as to where I need to be and what I’ve got to do to get there.”

Photo: Tommy Börzsei

Onamade looks forward to returning to play with the Birmingham Lions and continuing to push himself as a football player. The young Brit has plenty of football left and more championships to win. His goals include helping young players fall in love and develop within the game just as he did.

“I want to play at the highest level I can play, I believe that is the NFL if I work hard enough. I also want to be a coach to help young athletes like my first coach Daniel Vickery did for me.”

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and