Wallis Debourou was born in 1993 in a town based in the outskirt of Paris (France), called Orsay. The outskirts of Paris is known for producing some of the very best soccer players in the world: Thierry Henry, Kylian M’bappé, Paul Pogba, or Zinédine Zidane are all from this type of background. A couple years after his birth, Wallis moved back to Benin with his parents where he started school along with playing unorganized street / playground soccer and later on, organized soccer when he joined the U12 Benin National Team.
Even though he was enjoying himself in Benin, he got scouted by the Paris Saint Germain “PSG” Academy and received an offer to move to back to Paris and pursue his soccer development at one of the most prestigious soccer club in the world. It was extremely tough for Wallis to leave his family, and move to France on his own. “I am the youngest in a family of 4 boys. At the time I had the offer to move back to France, I was the only child left in the house with my parents. My siblings having already graduated from school in Benin, moved to France and the United States for college and work. They visited us every year but they still lived very far away from us and it was not easy for my parents who really wanted all their kids around.”
Wallis won multiple MVP awards as a youth PSG player and decided to move to the United States in 2009 to play for the New York Red bulls after being scouted in Paris.
The idea behind this move, was to have a backup plan in case professional soccer did not work out. “In European soccer academies, the focus is put on developing soccer players while academics come second. Talent is not the only determining factor to become a professional soccer player. Many players due to injuries, bad luck or lack of support, do not get to go professional. Even though the European soccer system is better structured than the American soccer system, the fact that you can focus on your sport while also getting a quality education is something America does better than Europe. My parents fully supported my decision as they value academics.”
Wallis attended the prestigious Blair Academy in Blairstown New Jersey, on top of playing for the U18 New York Red bulls Academy and the U18 Players Development Academy (PDA). He successfully graduated from high school, played division 1 college soccer in the NCAA then graduated with a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Cleveland State University.
He signed his first professional contract at Buffles Du Borgou FC in the Benin Premier League and got to represent the Benin Men’s National Team of soccer numerous times.
Five years into his promising career, he sustained an injury that put the rest of his career in jeopardy and decided to focus on coaching youth players to help them reach their full potential. He is also investing in his community back in Benin as a lot of children look up to him.
On top of being very successful as a player, Wallis established himself as a very prominent youth soccer coach in North New Jersey. He led the U10 Rutherford boys team in a historic regional championship, on top of winning 2 back to back state championship with Montclair Girls Soccer team. He currently holds the US soccer B license and working on the A – Youth license.