Wapping footballer aiming for MLS
An East End footballer is closing on a career as a professional footballer after going through the college system in the United States
An East End footballer is closing on a career as a professional footballer after going through the college system in the United States.
Wapping-born Joe Kennedy is on a scholarship scheme and has just finished his third season on the other side of the pond and led his Lees-McRae side to the nationals finals in Tampa where he played in front of well over 1,00 spectators.
The game was on national television where they were eventually beaten by a Collardo College 1-0.
The 21-year-old has made a big impact since arriving and is hopeful to make a career in the sport.
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"The MLS draft is next January and I am confident a team will choose me and I will play professionally," Kennedy said, before explaining how he ended up thousands away from his east London home.
"My brother was doing the same thing over here and he was having a great time, so I thought I'd have a go and put my video in. Someone at Herkimer College in New York liked what they saw and snapped me up."
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Kennedy spent two happy years on the east coast and won the national championship there.
And when it came to doing his senior year at a different institution the talented midfielder had plenty of options.
"A few different places were interested in me but the English coach here Chris Whalley was really positive about this place and had big plans, so I knew I would be happy here.
"My all-round game has really come on and I am a lot fitter than I was."
Going to America was a clean start for Kennedy, who had a turbulent couple of teenage years when, aged 15, he was released by West Ham United and then a year later broke his leg playing Sunday league football.
"I must admit I did not think I would make it as a pro," Kennedy admitted.
"The long lay off did make me more determined to come back, but it was very hard, especially when I could not play and had to watch football at the same time.
"But now I'm really optimistic and who knows maybe in a few years I could come back and play professionally in England.
"It would be a dream to come over here and play in front of my family."
The midfield dynamo is determined to keep his feet on the ground and his main focus is next season.
"I would love to go back to the NCAA Championship and win that National title," he said.
"To win it again would be a great achievement and something I could be really proud of.
"You can never stop improving as a footballer and I hope to make big strides next season.