British teen joins Manchester City academy after Singapore stint
British teen, a protege of former national No. 1 Rezal Hassan, joins the EPL giants' academy
When Felix Goddard started playing football, he never saw himself positioned between the sticks.
Like every other boy, he wanted to be scoring goals at the other end of the pitch.
But, in a twist of fate, he became the one saving them instead and the 13-year-old has become so good at it that he has even earned a spot with the Manchester City academy.
Earlier this month, Felix joined the English Premier League giants' Under-14 team.
Born in Germany to British parents, Felix came to Singapore in 2006.
Although he played rugby in his early years, Felix fell in love with football when he was eight, thanks to his friends.
STARTING FROM SCRATCH
He said: "The first time I played football, I started off as a centre back because of my height at a young age, but I wanted to play up front because everyone wanted to be on the scoresheet.
"I wanted to be an outfield player because, at the time, I didn't see how important and fun the role of a goalkeeper was."
Things took a turn when Felix joined local football academy JSSL at the age of nine. He trained as a goalkeeper under former national custodian Rezal Hassan, starting from scratch in an unfamiliar position.
Besides being trained to handle the ball, Felix also realised the importance of being skilful with his feet.
"You will never know when we will be called upon to either use our feet or maybe to even play as an outfield player if there's a necessity," he said.
"All said, versatility is an important part of the game and, at clubs like Man City, we play a lot of football through the goalkeeper and being the launch pad for attacks."
Felix, who is equally adept with the ball at his feet as he is handling it, was invited to the City academy for a two-week training stint, before being offered a place with the U-14s last month.
JSSL managing director Harvey Davis believes that Felix has matured through the years, after taking feedback about his performance very seriously.
Harvey said: "Initially, when Fulham looked at him a couple of years ago in Singapore, their comments were that Felix needed to work on his feet, which he did, so that was what Man City were attracted to."
ANOTHER JSSL EXPORT
He added that he was extremely delighted to see another JSSL player sign for a major football academy.
In July, his 16-year-old son, Ben, who is also a product of JSSL, joined English Championship club Fulham on a two-year scholarship.
"Working with young children with such great potential and watching their development are really exciting for JSSL.
"We're very proud of Felix and it'd be fantastic to see him play in the first team of an EPL club in the future.
"For us, he will always be a product of the JSSL system, which started right here in Singapore with our coaches."
Felix's coach, Rezal, shares the same sentiments.
He said: "For a 13-year-old boy to play at this level, he has shown that he is capable and I definitely think that he should play at a higher level.
"Felix is very focused and he knows what he wants, and I believe that a world-class academy such as Man City's is a good platform for him to grow and achieve his dreams."