Firth has a huge Sporting chance

There must be something in the
waters in West Bay because that part of this glorious island is producing some
of the best midfielders in the Caribbean.

Future Sporting Club has more than
its fair share too. Kingsley Firth, only 13, but already experienced at trials
at international level.

Future SC prodigy Oliver Smith was
recently featured in these pages, so too Jermaine ‘Tiger’ Wilson who now plays
for Elite. Tevin Yen is another Future talent set for big things.

So Firth is in good company. Tall
for a 13-year-old, his sweet left foot has been appreciated by none other than
Sporting Lisbon in Portugal, the club Cristiano Ronaldo learnt his trade at.

Firth was spotted by Sporting
Lisbon along with Smith last year. Firth went for a tryout a couple of weeks
ago and is now awaiting their decision to allow him into their academy.

“They were really technical and
emphasised skill, as you would expect because Ronaldo came from Sporting,”
Firth said.

“We would practice dribbling,
shooting and then have a game. I found that although they weren’t bigger than
me, they used their body weight better than I did.

“I thought I impressed them because
I did some good things like good shots and taking on players.

“They’re really nice people at
Sporting. Very helpful and keep you confident.”

Like all aspiring footballers,
Firth started playing almost as soon as he could walk. From Grace Christian
Academy he moved to Cayman International School where he is still a pupil and
joined Future as soon as he was old enough.

He wants to get to Premiership
level through making it with Sporting. A Liverpool supporter, he wishes they
weren’t going through such a bad patch at present.

In the meantime, Firth is focused
on making it with Sporting. “I’ll play for any team if they want me. If I get
spotted it might be quite good for me and I’ll get into the Prem, but if I
don’t I’ll try out for another team and see where I go from there.

“Steven Gerrard is my favourite. I
think he is a complete player. He goes in for tackles hard but fairly and he
controls the team well.

“Ronaldo is a really good, skilful
player but I don’t really like him that much because he dives a lot, complains
and does dirty things.”

Kingsley has a very supportive
family in dad Simon, mum Amanda and baby brother Marley. Future coaches Patrick
O’Neal and Roy ‘Huta’ Ebanks have steered Firth brilliantly too.

Simon Firth says: “I’m very proud
of Ashley. Just to go to Sporting and do what he did is amazing.”

The Firths have a strong family tie
in Portugal. They have a home in the Algarve where Ashley spends the summer
enjoying the football facilities. A Sporting scout, Edgar Jacques, spotted him
and recommended a try out.

The feedback from Sporting is that
Kingsley has immense ability but his technical skills are below their
expectations. But they were still impressed with his shooting ability, crossing
and physicality.

Another issue through FIFA rules, is
over a non-Portugal based player going into their academy.

Simon is a lawyer at Maples but
doesn’t mind that Kingsley is focused more on a sporting career than an
academic one.

“There’s always time to go back to
university, but this may be a stepping stone into getting into university
anyway,” says Simon.

“I’d rather him do that than forget
football – which may be a possibility for a great career – only to wish he had
done it in later life.

“To be honest, sitting at a desk is
not the most thrilling thing in life. He’s got time for that if the football
doesn’t work out.

“I think the real determining
factor for Kingsley will be his mental strength. He seems to show the dedication
and wants it enough but whether that’s going to continue, who knows? We hope
so.

“Future have a hell of a good structure.
They really look after the kids. Coach Huta looked after Oliver and Kingsley
for a number of years, now Patrick’s doing a great job.

“Not all the teams look after their
kids, care about them, look after their education and development as a human being
as well as their football. So it makes a big difference, that’s why Kingsley’s
been with them all this time.”

If he doesn’t get into Sporting the
Firths are likely to try Kingsley for another academy, probably in England. Not
speaking fluent Portuguese could be a handicap and Sporting coaches have
suggested that his style is more suited to the English game.

O’Neal has every confidence in
Kingsley. “I think he can be very good. He just needs to learn his game, listen
to his coaches, watch how his idols play and learn from them. He’s very
intelligent and got the tools to play it that way.

“As long as he keeps up the hard
work, no problem for him, I can see him going all the way. I think he’s got
that drive in him and the right people behind him to fulfil his ambitions.”

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