February marks Black History Month, a global celebration recognizing the excellence paved by black communities throughout history and in modern culture. As a club, Cavalry FC recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusion through learning from its teammates and staff by taking part in educational programs and having discussions as a group.
Cavalry FC’s newest roster addition, Udoka Chima sat down with the club to discuss the importance of Black History Month and what it means for him as a player to recognize the month.
“Diversity is always important in sports, as it brings people together from all different backgrounds,” says Chima. “It doesn’t matter how you look or where you’re from, when you’re on the pitch—we’re all part of the same passion for the game. There is no separation, everyone’s together.”
Chima is of Nigerian descent and spent his life growing up in the United Kingdom. He’s now settling into his new home in Canada as he prepares for the upcoming 2023 Season with Cavalry FC. Since arriving, Chima has felt welcomed into the Calgary and Cavalry FC communities with open arms and is prepared to make his mark amongst Cavalry’s supporters.
“I’ve felt so welcomed since arriving here. In both the city, and at the club—there is so much diversity here in Calgary and at Cavalry FC. It means a lot to me that the club that I’m playing at is very diverse and I’m very happy being here.”
– Udoka Chima
In recognition of Black History Month, Cavalry FC took part in educational programs where Udoka Chima and former player and current Assistant General Manager, Tofarati Fakunle visited a local school to share their experiences as professional athletes. Fakunle previously played for Calgary Foothills under Cavalry FC Head Coach and General Manager, Tommy Wheeldon Jr., and played for Cavalry in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Prior to playing professional soccer, Fakunle pursued a degree majoring in psychology with a minor in business at the University of Northern British Columbia, where he played for the Timberwolves making a total of 67 appearances and accumulating a total of eight awards with the university. Fakunle obtained his Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, which focuses on leadership development and creating a forward-thinking environment where everyone can thrive. This led him to pursue a leadership role with Cavalry FC as the Assistant General Manager once he hung up his boots.
The educational program highlighted to young students the importance of celebrating Black Excellence. Chima and Fakunle introduced themselves and recounted stories from their careers while interacting with the students, who had the opportunity to inquire about their professional experiences during the visit.
“Education is a key aspect in learning about not only Black History, but also about how we can unite and grow together,” shared Chima. “I believe it is important to teach these things at a young age—that it’s good to see people from different demographics around you. I was honoured to have been given the opportunity to share my story to such a young group and to help teach them that we all work best when we work together.”
Cavalry FC continues to acknowledge, promote, and recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion as part of the club’s identity and is proud to be a part of the 2023 Calgary Black Achievement Awards as a Silver Sponsor. As a club deeply committed to the values of diversity, inclusion, and equity, we believe it is crucial to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Black Canadians in our community. We are thrilled to be a part of this important event and look forward to honoring the remarkable individuals who have made a significant impact in Calgary.