As long as I can remember I’ve loved playing football, watching football and basically revolving my life around football. Some of my earliest steps were on a beach kicking a football, and I started playing properly when I was about five years old every Saturday with my local football team Torpoint Athletic F.C. I remember my first ever pair of boots were a black and red Adidas Predators. At that time we had quite a big garden and my brother was a goalkeeper, so I’d spend a lot of time kicking the ball around the garden and practicing my shooting.
After a few years playing like that I moved schools and got called upon to attend a trial with my local team Plymouth Argyle along with about 100 other kids my age. I recall on a crowded astroturf pitch I scored a half volley from miles out! The process started with many but gradually narrowed down til there would be about 10/15 kids who would be in the squad. Fortunately I made it to that select few and spent every Tuesday and Friday travelling an hour (with thanks to mum and dad for giving me lifts) to train as part of the Plymouth Argyle Youth Development Squad, who I played for for about two to three years, alongside playing for the school team and a Saturday team. I recall playing football most days of the week! Tuesday at Argyle. Wednesday would be training with the Saturday team. Thursday would be training with the school team. Back at Argyle on Friday! Then a game on Saturday! Football took over my childhood!
At the age of 10 I moved house to Plymouth which made getting to Bodmin in Cornwall where I trained with Argyle more difficult. They had the equivalent to that in Plymouth where I played for a few weeks. However, I’m honest I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I had done before. So I stopped and joined a Saturday team called Phoenix City F.C where I played for five years until they folded.
I won my first league cup there, a draw after extra time meant we had to go to penalties! I recall us going in to decide who was to take the penalties and one person out of the whole team put their hand up! Eventually I bowed to the peer pressure and agreed to step up to the task. I was the third penalty taker, we missed our first but then they missed so I had the opportunity to put us in front. I remember the long long walk to the penalty spot from the half way line! Actually typing this I can feel the nerves, I looked over to the sideline to see everyone there. I had no clue where I was going to shoot, I hadn’t thought at all. Placing the ball I went with the idea to just hit it as hard as I could! And so I did the smashing it past the keeper and into the top left corner!
Under 16 level was the last age group before it changed into under 18, then adult football. I was without a club until some childhood friends persuaded me to join their team. Torpoint Athletic F.C. Quite fitting that the team I was to finish youth football with, was where it had all begun. I played in an advanced midfield role, and found the net seven times that season if I can remember rightly. In the league we finished fourth but the league cup had added incentive as the venue for the final was to be held at Home Park, the football ground of my boyhood team Plymouth Argyle!
Somehow we made it there, tied against league winners Horrabridge Rovers. We had special shirts printed for before the game, we had to look smart wearing as we entered! I had got a new pair of boots for the final. The weather was perfect, overcast not too hot, and no wind. I remember going down and out onto the pitch for the warm up and just taking it all in. I started on the bench having been injured weeks before, with twenty minutes to go I came on. We were 3-1 up at the time, but wary that the other team were good enough to beat us! One opportunity would be enough for us to go on and win it. A through ball was played my way and I latched onto it ahead of the defender! Thinking I was offside I looked across at the linesman who’s flag wasn’t up! “Christ, I’m in on goal here.” So I sped up a bit the keeper came off his line and I could hear the defender behind me. Everything blanked out I couldn’t hear anyone or anything, I had never been more focused on scoring. I placed the ball with the inside of my foot past the keeper. By this time the defender was so close and after I’d kicked the ball I almost lost
my balance and fell. Steadying myself I looked to see the ball roll into the net sparking a massive celebration! This was a dream come true!!
That season came to an end, then I took a break from 11 aside football, playing five aside with my friends weekly before one last season where I played for a local Sunday league team Chaddlewood Miners before leaving for university. Which brings me to where I am now, a first year university student playing for FXU FC!