‘When it became Recreational' - Kym Harris

We're interested in learning individual's sporting journeys and the factors that may have prevented them from reaching their full potential or sporting goal. 
In our first edition, we interviewed Kym Harris, a semi-professional footballer who gave it a crack fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a pro footballer.

Kym Harris, 27
Sport: Football (Soccer)
Position: Striker
Favourite Team: Man United
Favourite All Time Player(s): Ryan Giggs and David Beckham

What first attracted you to football?

My love for football stems from my parents both being born in the UK.
They both grew up loving and watching the game, which resonated with me from a young age.

I began playing in school, with my twin brother Adam having kick-arounds and representing the school team on weekends.
It was nothing too serious early days.

School is definitely where it all starts for many, when did you enter club or academy systems?

My brother and I joined Cumberland United (local Adelaide club) at around 10yo and that was the first taste of a club system, which was quite different to school systems as you could imagine.

I know you love a goal nowadays, but have you always been a striker?

Love a goal ha ha. I actually began on the Right Wing, sometimes Right Back.
It wasn’t until later on around the age of 14 or 15 I moved up front.

So now you’ve been in the club system for a couple of years with Cumberland United, what was the next move and what made it so significant?
The next move was to Adelaide City FC.
It was a significant move at the time with Adelaide City being one of the more highly reputed clubs in the South Australian set up.
Many of the players I was trialling/playing with went through junior academies and were extremely technical.
They had great game awareness at such a young age, I had some good qualities – but still took time to get up to speed to those levels and being around it certainly helped.
At this time, was your long-term goal to play professionally?

Of course, it was the dream!

So, you’re around 16yo and have been with Adelaide City for a couple of years, how did you continue your development?
So, at the age of 16 I made the move to Adelaide Raiders and began playing under 18s and some reserves football, which was a big step up physically and mentally.
I was playing against guys in their early/mid 20s.
My time with Raiders eventuated in training with the first team, which was massive for my confidence going forward.
Was there a season you recall as your breakthrough season?
I made the move to Adelaide Blue Eagles; this is where consistent first team football started to take place.
I initially signed for the Reserves team though, I managed to score 4 goals in my first Reserves game and that’s where my opportunity in the first team came. Also, first team injuries generated that early chance to make the step up.
After your breakout season with Blue Eagles were there any professional opportunities?
At the end of that season I signed for the Adelaide United Youth Team.
It was a really strong set up and gave me a good taste of what it is like to be in the professional system.
Back then we were playing curtain raisers for A-League games against other A-League youth teams in Adelaide and outer state.
That would’ve been a great experience, how did you find the build-up to those games in comparison to playing locally?
It was definitely different, particularly the travel side of things – travelling every second week or so.
Were playing opportunities harder to come by?
No doubt, there were a couple of senior players playing in the youth team who were strikers and we were playing 1 upfront, which made opportunities scarce.
I found it difficult not playing as much.
We also had a change of coach throughout the season, that had a bit of a different vision, which also wasn’t favourable.
Did this lead to you not enjoying the game as much and how did your mentality change?
Absolutely, when you’re not on the pitch, it’s difficult.
I certainly don’t regret going for the opportunity, unfortunately timing wasn’t in my favour.
When you’re training really well and being told you’re doing a lot right, to end the week being informed you won’t be travelling this week is deflating.
I understood that’s part of the process, but it continued to happen consistently and effected my confidence and motivation.
Did you finish out the season?
I did, as it was over the summer (played in the A-League season), I rode it out and got back to playing locally with Blue Eagles in the winter season and picked up where I left off and had a great season team wise and personally.
So, you’re now 19 – where do your professional aspirations lie?
I started training with Adelaide United again for a couple of weeks.
If there’s anything I kind of regret, it was not keeping on with another season there.
I thought to myself I don’t want to put myself through this again and eventually pulled the pin.
There was probably some ignorance there, because who knows what could’ve happened.
Eventually my brother Adam and I took the opportunity to train with a club in Indonesia.


Did you face many challenges with the overseas move and what were the objectives?
It was tough!
The initial set up was difficult, the team we began training with folded and cultural barriers were a challenge.
The goal was a to land a deal.
We trained for a month and no real progress was made.
We decided nothing was really beneficial football wise, but it was good life experience.
After that experience did you have any intentions of giving it another go overseas?
I had a mate who had some contacts in the UK, so I took the opportunity and went for it to trial and thought I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
The first team I trialled with was Gillingham FC.
I had a trial with the first team, it was cool, I managed to score a goal and felt good.
Had a couple of trainings after that and got moved on.
It was cutthroat, I thought to myself, what more do you have to do?
Where did you go from there?
I went up to Notts County, they had a new league up there.
I began training for the best part of 2-3 months.
I was told within 5 weeks I was going to be offered a contract, it was awesome. They had just opened new facilities that were unbelievable quality!
This took a turn when coach had to take immediate leave due to a personal matter.
This put a hold on the contract, which never ended up eventuating.
I travelled to family in London and went to play for a team in Conference One. This was a semi-pro standard, whereas Notts County was professional in League One.
How were you going financially and what was your next move?
Well I was earning around 100 pounds a week with the Conference One team, and I found myself struggling financially.
I’d gone over with savings which were drying up.
So, my final 2 months in the UK I reached a point I knew this wasn’t going to last forever and made the most of it on and off the pitch.
I was satisfied with my attempts and journey to becoming a professional footballer.
But you know, it does leave those burning thoughts of ‘what if’.
There were a few moments and factors that could have gone my way and maybe resulted in a contract, timing is everything – but it wasn’t to be.
Your quest to play professionally has seemingly come to an end at this stage, where are you at now with football?
I went back to Uni to study Construction Management and Economics and playing locally at Adelaide Blue Eagles.
Towards the end of my studies, I took the opportunity to move to Melbourne and join Hume City FC in 2016.
I finished off my degree with some work in the industry guaranteed through football contacts.
I spent a season at Hume City and moved to Melbourne Knights for a further two years.
From here, I joined Richmond FC, looking to take it less serious with one less training session per week, as combining professional work life and going to training 3-4 times a week and playing Saturdays was extremely difficult.
I didn’t really enjoy my time at Richmond FC due to commitments were more than proposed and didn’t really buy into the culture.
So that leaves us to what’s happening now?
I signed for Brimbank Stallions; I wasn’t going to play this year.
My old coach from Melbourne Knights called me up and convinced me.
It’s nice, training two nights a week with a good bunch of people.
We have fun but still take it seriously on the park.
Unfortunately, everything has been put on hold given current circumstances.
Best player played against?
Jermain Pennant 
Best Player played with?
Saranti Parrisos
Dream club to play for?
Man United. 

 

We would like to thank Kym for his time and incredible insights into his football journey!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published