Not only has South Surrey’s Hugo Patel Thompson been fine-tuning his soccer skills for an upcoming adventure, he’s also been working on his English accent.
After a training event in the United Kingdom, Hugo caught the attention, and invitation, of scouts of five professional U.K. soccer clubs (Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, West Ham United, Portsmouth and Ipswich Town).
However, stricter Football Association regulations now prevent Premier League teams from drafting overseas players until they’re 16 and the family must also be a resident in the U.K., Hugo’s father Ian Thompson wrote to Peace Arch News.
Ian, originally from England, told PAN that his family made the decision to move to the U.K. so Hugo could follow his dreams.
“Canada plays a very different style of soccer, so if a Canadian wants to play in Europe, they really have to get over to Europe as early and as much as possible,” Ian said.
The midfielder has been playing at tournaments in Europe since he was 10 years old. In Canada, he played for Coastal FC; Pacific United; Mountain United’s HPL U14 team in Burnaby; had private sessions at the Volf Soccer Academy in Vancouver; and personal training sessions at Vaughan’s Fitness in Langley.
According to Ian, Hugo will start school at Royal Russell in South London this September, but will likely leave for a three-month stint in Barcelona during his second term.
Hugo told PAN over the phone Monday that he’s wanted to play professional soccer for Chelsea “every since I started kicking a ball.”
“I was born into a Chelsea family,” he said, adding that he’s not really nervous about the move.
“I’ve been expecting it… In my mind, I’m already there. I’ve wanted to do this for so long and now it’s finally happening. I can’t really be nervous, just hope for the best and make it happen.”
When told that his father told PAN the youngster had been working on his English accent in anticipation of the move, Hugo let out a giggle and said, “I mean, he’s not wrong.”
His mother Jini Patel Thompson said Hugo spoke of playing professional soccer for Chelsea at age four.
“At age six he would lay out his kit the night before – every single time – and he would be dressed, urging his Dad to get going, before every single practice and game. I don’t even know of any adults that could match him in commitment and consistency,” Jini said in a news release.