Barbados-Beach to Liverpool FCRaphael

I had talent. My coaches saw that too and didn’t miss a chance to tell me.

Sometimes I close my eyes and think back to ten years ago.
Barbados. Caribbean. White, sandy beaches. The average annual temperature here is 26 ° Celsius. This is where I spent my childhood and teenage years. And this is where I started dreaming a big dream!

I was born in Berlin. But I didn’t stay there for very long. When I was three years old my family and I moved to the Caribbean. Young children can easily cope with changes. Everything is new and exciting and there is something new to discover every day. So the change from living in Berlin to moving to Barbados felt completely natural to me.

I was five years old when I discovered football. Or maybe it discovered me? Either way… The round black and white leather ball would be my trusty companion for many years to come. My place on the pitch was in the goal. I had talent. My coaches saw that too and didn’t miss a chance to tell me.

The seed was sown and the dream started to grow: I wanted to become a football professional!

My former club in Barbados had a partnership with the Young Talent Academy in Liverpool. Every two years a number of players were selected to make the long journey to England to practice under the best conditions.

I was one of the lucky ones. Off I went to the United Kingdom. England!
Another world opened up in front of me!

We trained every single day.
The Liverpool Academy provided us with their football pitches and top training. We played friendly games against the other Liverpool youth teams. It was an intensive football bootcamp.

I also remember a visit from the Liverpool Coaches in Barbados. For six weeks we intensively practiced my goalkeeping skills. My mentor was the English goalie legend David Seaman! He confirmed what I already knew: my great strength was my responsiveness. On the line not many other goalies had anything on me. But there were downsides, too: long placed balls. They were difficult for me. And this wasn’t something I could simply make up for by training harder, I struggled with them because of my height. I was too short to become a top league goalie. This didn’t occur to me over night though.

It was slow and a painful maturing process. At the end there was the realization: The dream is over … I will not become a professional.

At 18 I returned to Berlin.
My new goal was to start studying here. But the fresh start in my new, old home was anything but easy. The weather! The people! The atmosphere! Somehow, everything felt cold and strange to me. I was told that my qualifications from Barbados are not recognized here. So I withdrew. I had reached a new low point in my life.

A few months later I made a friend.
He seemed nice enough, not like the other people I had met. “Get your workout gear!”, he called and together we went to the gym. I was on fire! At every workout I gave it my all. My body developed fast. I gained muscle mass and became more defined.
Fitness, my new passion.

I’m now 27.
I did my vocational diploma, I studied and now I‘m working as an Interior Designer. It feels incredible to be able to let out my creative side at work. Unfortunately, my childhood dream has not come true.
But sport still plays an important role in my life. After work I either go to the gym or on a run.

And football is back in my life too.

For the past few years I have been playing for a team in Berlin, together with a few friends. Regional league. Not worth mentioning. I’m a field player now and I love it!

Long story short:

No matter where I am, no matter how old I am. Sport is awesome and will always be part of my life.