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Abandoned in New York, Nigerian athlete finds home, hope in West Virginia


After two years of working and saving, hoping and dreaming about life in the “land of opportunity,” 17-year-old Joseph Udoh spent his first night in America abandoned and alone, too “freaked out” to leave the terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“I mean, I heard about New York. I felt like it was scary,” said Udoh, now 19 and a preferred walk-on with the WVU football team, from his lawyer’s office in Charleston.

A Nigerian orphan with enough academic and athletic ability to attract a scholarship offer from a boarding school in the United States, he and an older sister managed to save $2,000 in U.S. funds for the one-way ticket he needed to accept the offer.

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