A young Englishman is embarking on his dream of becoming a professional footballer… and it’s all thanks to Neymar.
20-year-old Kaine Wright fired his five-a-side team to glory in the UK national final of Red Bull’s Neymar Jr’s Five tournament earlier this year, and is now hoping to turn that glory into global success.
The world’s biggest five-a-side tournament will reach its climax this weekend as the winning teams from 53 countries around the globe will compete to be named the world’s best.
But after booking his seat for the trip to Instituto Projeto de Neymar Jr, the news got even better for Wright.
Esporte Club Taubate, a club with a history of more than 103 years, offered Wright a trial and the chance to earn a professional contract.
Following the Neymar Jr’s Five world final, he will stay in Sao Paulo for a month to prove himself and wait for the chance to play in the seventh tier of Brazilian football – becoming the first English player to do so.
Wright insists the busy month will provide him with enough motivation to reach the top, and meeting Brazilian and Barcelona superstar Neymar will be a ‘dream come true’.
He added: “Firstly, I’m really looking forward to competing against the best 5-a-side teams at Neymar Jr’s Five.
“We aren’t going to make up the numbers and I’m confident that the lads can go far.
“Neymar is also one of my idols, so meeting him would be a dream come true for me.
“After the tournament I can then focus on training with E.C Taubate and impressing the coaches and staff.
“I’m confident in my ability and I’ll do everything I can to play in the first team at Joaquinzão, which holds over 14,000 fans.”
The Neymar Jr’s Five tournament sees a fresh twist on an ordinary five-a-side format.
There are no goalkeepers, with the goal becoming only a few feet wide and two feet tall, and every time a team concedes a goal they lose a player from the pitch.
However, the UK team of IFC 5s progressed through the regional finals and won the national final which saw them secure their place in Brazil this weekend.
Wright is no stranger to playing with professionals and has already made a name for himself abroad, with stints at Premier League sides Watford and West Ham, as well as Portuguese giants Benfica, Maritimo and Braga.
He’s even shared the same field as Roma legend Francesco Totti and current star Radja Nainggolan, featuring against them for MLS side Orlando City SC.
Kaine Wright will play for IFC Fives at Neymar Jr’s Five in Praia Grande, Brazil, on Friday 7th & Saturday 8th July. The final of the tournament will be broadcast live on Red Bull TV.
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