Elijah Adekugbe is almost like a new signing for Cavalry FC this year. The 25-year-old is finally back with the club and ready for 2022, after missing the entire 2021 season with a torn Achilles. After so long spent on the sidelines, it'd be easy to forget just how good Adekugbe was in his appearances with the Cavs two years ago, but he's eager to remind the Canadian soccer community how important he is to the club's midfield. "The energy's different when you're back playing," he said in an interview with CanPL.ca. "Last year you're more of a spectator, but when you're with the group, you're working with them, going to war with them, it's different."

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He added: "That was one of the biggest struggles I went through. Ultimately I love what I do, I love being around the team, I love being around the guys, working, going to war, training with them, and to have to sit out the whole season... mentally that was one of the hardest things I've been through. But you find different ways to deal with it. I poured myself into my rehab, I kept grinding, I made music, a bunch of different things, and I found a bunch of different areas to channel my drive and my passion." In an extended chat from the Foothills training ground in Calgary, Adekugbe discussed his entire road back to recovery, as well as the hunger among Cavalry players heading into their fourth CPL season, having come close to getting to the Final in 2021. Plus, Adekugbe shed some light on his musical talents, which helped him get through his time away from the pitch, and he spoke about what it's been like watching his brother, Sam, play for the national team through their remarkable World Cup qualifying run.

To see CanPL.ca’s interview with Elijah Adekugbe in full, go to YouTube.com/CPLsoccer.

For more CPL season preview content, featuring one of our eight clubs each day leading up to the first match on April 7, check out @CPLsoccer on social media or click here.

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