By Pierce Washburn
If you haven’t heard the name Teddy Ndje yet, I’m sure you will soon. Two years ago, former Gilman student Teddy Ndje packed his soccer cleats and headed to Argentina after being recruited to play for Club Atlético Banfield’s youth team following a match in which he participated against them. As a freshman at Gilman, Teddy scored fourteen goals in the twenty-three-game season with the Greyhounds. Now, he takes online classes and lives in Buenos Aires, where he trains with both the professional and youth teams at Banfield.
Before Teddy left Baltimore, it was apparent for him that living without his family in a foreign country, along with a language barrier, would be difficult. However, Teddy said it was only problematic in the beginning when his coaches and teammates would have to use hand signals to communicate with him. Furthermore, Teddy said that it was hard for him when he first started because he was not used to playing and practicing against such quality competition. Teddy also said it was difficult for him to be away from his family and that he was fairly shy when he first started playing for the team.
Now that Teddy has had time to adjust to a new lifestyle, he is enjoying his time playing the game that he loves. However, Teddy is currently only able to play in friendly matches and tournaments with the youth team because he is under eighteen and does not have Argentinian citizenship. With that being said, he has practiced with the pro team and this past season, Teddy scored ten goals in twelve games, and referred to his performance as “spectacular.” Club Atlético Banfield has a 120 year Argentinian legacy and has produced soccer stars like James Rodriguez, who played for Real Madrid. Though his youth team contract will end this year after 2 years, Teddy hopes to sign his deal with the club’s pro team next year.
When not playing soccer, Teddy relishes the Argentinian lifestyle and its perks. Though he enjoys playing, he does not love Buenos Aires because of the poor sanitation of the sidewalks where he is not able to wear his nice shoes. Teddy is currently living in an apartment provided by his agent, alongside some of the other players his agent manages. When he is not playing soccer or taking a frequent nap, Teddy likes to spend his time in a nearby park drinking maté, a traditional South American drink, with his friends.
If you follow Teddy on Instagram, you would remember the Coke commercial that he was in and the multiple pictures he posted in support of the soft drink. Although it was both comical and exciting to see him in the Coca-Cola advertisements, the ad campaign also allowed him to see his idol and arguably the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, play live in an international match during the World Cup. Teddy was also given the opportunity to carry the Mexican flag before a match during the World Cup last year. For the blossoming star, this moment allowed him to see the ambiance of a professional soccer match from the field, giving him aspirations to one day play at the highest level.
While speaking to one of Teddy’s closest friends, Mattias Hanchard, Mattias said that he was proud of Teddy. Mattias says that seeing Teddy back home, after spending time chasing his dreams, has matured him as both a player and a person. All in all, we wish Teddy the best of luck moving forward and we hope to see him in Fifa someday soon.