Ahead of Saturday's live streaming of our Under-18s in action, the latest instalment of our series looking at the upbringing of Chelsea Academy youngsters focuses today on Prince Adegoke, who speaks about being a latecomer to the game and watching Chelsea Wembley for the first time.
You are able to watch both of our Academy teams in action on the website, the 5th Stand app or our official YouTube channel this weekend. Ed Brand’s Under-18s play on Saturday morning at 11am before Andy Myers’ Under-23s are at Kingsmeadow on Sunday afternoon at 2pm.
Hi Prince, what’s your first memory of playing football?
I only started playing football aged 11, my first proper memory would be from when I was at my local Sunday league side Glebe, playing in goal. I made a few saves in my first game and enjoyed football from then on.
I wasn’t really into football when I was young, I only thought about it when a teacher recommended that I joined a local team after playing the sport for the first time at school.
You then joined Chelsea as an Under-13, just a couple of years after playing football for the first time...
I wish I started playing football earlier but I’m glad I took the grassroots path into the game, it allowed me to play with my friends before joining the academy system. I didn’t know I could play football when I was in school, so for someone to recognise me playing shocked me – I didn’t know I was going to be a footballer!
As you weren't playing football at school, were you a fan of any other sports?
No, none at all. It feels weird to say now, but I wasn’t into anything sporty back then.
You wouldn’t have had any footballing idols, but who did you look up to during your early teenage years?
My family for sure. My mum is a very big inspiration to me because of all she has been through, my dad as well. Especially to get me to where I am now, they have sacrificed a lot – they both are both my biggest inspirations and fans.
What was your first memory of watching football?
Wembley! As Under-13s we went to Wembley to watch Arsenal in the cup final, that was my first time going to watch football and it was the best experience ever – I’ll never forget it. I just couldn’t believe that I was at Wembley stadium watching Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
What one footballing memory would you say is your best to date?
Signing for Chelsea as a 12-year-old. All of my team-mates started playing football as little kids, but I had only been playing for a couple of seasons, so to join a professional academy was a great feeling and looking back, was the best thing that could've happened to me at that age.
Adegoke started his first game in a year during Wednesday's dramatic clash against Brighton after suffering a knee injury during the last campaign. This morning, he and the rest of the Under-18s welcome Tottenham to Cobham for a league London derby which you can watch live and for free on this website, the 5th Stand app or our official YouTube channel.