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London Aghedo's Time at Air Force Academy Shaped the Way he Approaches Life as a Professional Athlete

May 16, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
FC Cincinnati News Release

"Integrity First, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do."

These are the core values of the United States Air Force Academy, located immediately north of Colorado Springs, Colorado. FC Cincinnati defender London Aghedo's adherence to this motto and his time as a cadet at the Air Force Academy have helped shape the way he approaches his professional career as an athlete while continuing to live out those ethics in his personal life.

A member of Cadet Squadron 09, Agehdo joined the academy for the 2019-2020 school year after attending the USAF Academy Prep School to play soccer for The Falcons and was named to the WAC All-Freshman team and was an All-WAC honorable mention in his first season. After three more years at the Academy, and three more all-conference selections and being named Defensive Player of the Year in his senior year, Aghedo opted to defer his service to pursue a professional soccer career when FC Cincinnati drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2022 MLS SuperDraft.

But his time at the Academy, a non-conventional college experience compared to most MLS SuperDraft picks, has given him the foundation to flourish as a pro.

"It shaped the person I am today, I think there's some things that you can only learn through service," Aghedo told ahead of the club's Salute to Service match on May 18 against St. Louis City SC. "A big thing there is service before self. We're taught that as soon as you walk in, and that you should be a force for excellence in all you do. So just having that type of standard for yourself is something that you can rely on as you go through adversity and hardships in all walks of life."

A native of Valencia, California, Aghedo's adjustment to the Academy was simpler as he attended the preparatory academy, but as a soccer prospect he was largely unheralded before breaking onto the scene in the Western Athletic Conference.

As a student in the Air Force Academy though, Aghedo says the connections he made on the pitch and off all formed lifelong relationships that he continues to lean on to this day.

"I still talk to those guys everyday. Those are my brothers," Aghedo said. "There's just something about being at a military academy that brings you closer because of the challenges that you encountered together...the things that you do together, the milestones that you accomplish, it brings you together. I talked to them every day. They're my best friends. My time there, in terms of the person that I am, I think completely shaped the way I think and the way I go about things."

FC Cincinnati will celebrate all members of the armed services (including Aghedo) on May 18 when they host St. Louis CITY SC with the "Salute to Service" night at TQL Stadium. The night will have a series of Service-related features including activities from the National Veterans Memorial & Museum, unique promotional merchandise, a special pre-match presentation of the flag and joint color guard, discounts in the team store for Active Military members and a letter writing station for fans to write to currently enlisted members. The Pre-Match Party presented by Pro Link at Washington Park will also have opportunities to connect and interact with Military related organizations

The match against St. Louis CITY is part of a series of platform matches this season at TQL Stadium, supporting different causes throughout the season.

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