Reds select teenage star

Adelaide United rising star Teeboy Kamara is set to be the Hyundai A-League's youngest player, after the Reds included the attacking midfielder in their squad to face Gold Coast United on Friday night.

Adelaide United rising star Teeboy Kamara is set to be the Hyundai A-League's youngest player, after the Reds included the attacking midfielder in their squad to face Gold Coast United on Friday night.

At 15 years and 212 days, Teeboy will become the youngest player to play in the A-League if he comes on against Gold Coast United, surpassing James Virgili, who made his debut at 16 years and 180 days for Newcastle Jets against Wellington Phoenix on January 4, 2009.

A member of the Reds- National Youth League squad, Kamara's selection on the bench for the senior team caps off a remarkable story and journey of a teenager born to Liberian parents who found a haven in Adelaide.

Reds coach Rini Coolen told Kamara about his inclusion after training on Thursday, an announcement the attacking midfielder found difficult to believe.

“I found out after training. He (Coolen) called me aside and said, ‘Teeboy you-re in the squad-, and I was like, ‘In the Youth Team squad?- and he said, ‘No, the first team- and I was like, ‘Wow-,” Kamara said.

“Rini said that I-ve impressed so I deserve it.”

“It feels like just yesterday I was playing soccer in the backyard and at the park with my mates in Salisbury, kicking the ball around and going to watch the A-League and thinking, ‘Whoa, these guys are freaks, am I ever going to be here?-.”

“So to be this young and have the chance to make my debut, I can-t wait and I want to make sure I prove to Rini and the people at Adelaide United that I-m good enough to play in the A-League.”

Adelaide United Youth Coach Michael Valkanis, who has spent a large amount of time with Kamara overseeing his development, says his selection does not come as a surprise and says a lot of the club-s youth set up.

“It-s not a surprise to the coaching staff because he has been working very hard with the Youth Team, he-s been playing very well and he-s shown he has got some qualities that will one day make him into a very good player,” Valkanis said.

“Rini has watched him quite a few times and obviously a number of the youth boys go up and train with the senior team, so he has a close eye on them and he has seen how Teeboy has dominated in lot of the National Youth League games with his hard work and now he has been given an opportunity.”

“Regardless of his age, I think he is physically capable, he shows that at training with the senior boys, mature-wise he-s got a good football brain, he keeps it simple, he-s very quick and he understands what has to be done.”

“Rini is of the belief that age doesn-t really matter, if you-re good enough you-ll get an opportunity and I don-t think he-ll be afraid to throw him on when the time is right.”

Due to civil unrest in Liberia, Kamara left for Australia at six years old with his mother and older brother and sister. Kamara's family made Adelaide their home, with a young Teeboy using football, which he had been introduced to by his father who was a goalkeeper in Liberia, as a way to integrate into the local community, and from there he quickly started to make his mark on the field.

Kamara was recognised by the South Australian Sports Institute-s football program before being invited to the AIS in Canberra and one thing led to another as he was selected as the youngest member of the Qantas Joeys squad for the Under 17 World Cup earlier this year in Mexico.

Following the tournament he returned to Adelaide after hearing his mother was in hospital but sadly, she passed away soon after. Living with his 21-year-old brother and 17-year-old sister, rather than dwelling on the loss of his mother, Teeboy-s perspective is one of hope and living out the dream that his family had given him the opportunity to live out.

“I had two options. I could have thought to myself that my mum has passed away so stuff soccer, stuff life, I still want my mum… And the other option was to look at it like Mum has passed away but she-s probably still looking at me, she loved me playing soccer and what-s the point of stopping now because she already put me half way there,” Teeboy said.

“Adelaide United has been great to me, everyone has been so friendly and it almost feels like Mum hasn-t passed away. I-m still happy and glad I did it. I-ve still got a long way to go but I-m getting there.”

NAME: Teeboy Kamara DOB: 18-May-1996 PLACE OF BIRTH: Sierra Leone POSITION: Attacking midfielder HEIGHT: 169cm WEIGHT: 70kg