He has the biggest smile around; someone who loves life to the fullest and brings his intense personality to everything he undertakes. Louis-Claude Nguea-Njoh is a Cameroonian national who came to the U.S. to pursue soccer at the college level.
“I actually swam all the way across,” he said with a laugh.
Louis-Claude Nguea-Njoh, or “LC” as his friends and acquaintances call him, may be here in the States, but he has never forgotten his heritage. As a boy growing up in Douala, the commerce capital of Cameroon, Louis-Claude found an intense passion for the game that “is played on every street corner.” At a very young age, he was handed the proverbial “ball” and ran with it.
“The word football (soccer) is in the mouth of every member of my family regardless of their gender,” said Nguea-Njoh.
His grandfather, Enumedi Guillaume, was the original captain of the “The Indomitable Lions,” the Cameroonian national soccer team.
“I was heavily influenced, along with my family, by my grandfather’s status as captain,” said Nguea-Njoh. “It was tremendous.”
In the streets of Douala, LC, along with other children, he never stopped playing the game he loved.
“I picked up my style in the streets with the other kids,” he said. “We would dribble around aimlessly, trying new tricks that we saw our heroes and role models do.”
Another attribute Louis-Claude thanks the streets for is his toughness.
“It is true for me to say that in the streets, it’s really rough,” he said. “It’s like playing in a universe of anarchy.”
At a young age, LC made strides on club teams and started to turn heads.
“My tactics and sense of positioning I attribute to my youth teams and coaches.”
Nguea-Njoh found his niche and excelled as a member of AS Koumassi and Mbanya FC.
“I began developing and became a complete player,” he said.
As a 17-year-old, Louis-Claude found himself standing in a penalty kick area, mere feet away from stardom. In the most prestigious club soccer tournament in Douala, LC had the opportunity to send his club home with a momentous win if he beat the keeper. He approached the ball and drove it to the back of the net, sealing the win.
“I have (many) favorite soccer moments,” he said. “If I had to pick just one, it would be that.”
Not only was he the youngest player on his squad, but his efforts also garnered him the MVP award for the entire tournament.
After he graduated from high school, he sensed a need to go overseas to learn another of his passions: business.
“Now more than ever, English has become the language of business,” he said. “I knew that if I came to the United States, I would learn the English language. This would open doors for lucrative jobs in Cameroon.”
Before Corban, LC settled in the Seattle area at Skagit Community College. After spending two years in Washington, he moved south to Corban to further his education and began playing competitive soccer once more.
“I came here for my education, soccer and most importantly, my spiritual growth.”
As an accounting major, Louis-Claude has excelled in the business department. Along with business, he enjoys psychology and its facets.
On Corban’s soccer squad, Nguea-Njoh quickly infused his team with his tough mentality.
“He is a fantastic player and knows the game very well,” said senior teammate Jared Rust. “I love playing with him side-by-side.”
Standing behind Nguea-Njoh’s midfield line, sophomore defender Nolan Dempster instantly recognized Louis-Claude’s impact.
“I love playing with him; he’s the type of player every team needs,” Dempster said. “Once he steps on the field, he is a momentum shifter and will cause things to happen; he’s so much fun to play with on the field.”
LC and teammate Ayouba Moussa quickly found common ground in their shared language of French.
After Corban, Nguea-Njoh hopes to someday return to his native Cameroon.
“I hope to go back to my home country someday,” he said. “I want to gain experience (here in the States) after I graduate (before then).”