The defender, who has also played as a striker, follows in the footsteps of Matthias Ginter, Julian Draxler and Mario Götze – the last three winners of the “Youth Player of the Year” award in this age group. The honour will be presented to the 18-year-old on Wednesday at 16:00 CET in Kaiserslautern ahead of the Germany friendly against Paraguay. Akpoguma can't be there in person due to his inclusion in the Germany U19 squad ahead of their game against Hungary.
The jury that awards the Fritz Walter Medal doesn't focus solely on performance but also the behaviour of the candidate off the pitch. It's another special accolade for Akpoguma: “I had a number of challenges last year, and not only because I played in the youth team and the third division. I also had to complete my A levels. I was absent on a number of occasions due to football, but during my exam period I had to say no to the German FA. I am pleased that everything worked out.”
This is all behind the 6'3'' model athlete now though. “In Hoffenheim, I can focus solely on the football. Proving myself at this club in the Bundesliga is a big goal of mine. That is motivation enough, but the award certainly pushes me along a little,” explained ‘Akpo' to achtzehn99.de