“During that 90 minutes [on the field] is the only time you would get or see the most emotions out of me. I hate to lose, and I will give my best to win. I will do whatever it takes—as long as it’s within the [rules] of the game—to win.”
St Benedict’s College Upper Six Form student Keon Boney, the only child to his parents, is used to giving extra. A Manzanilla resident, he wakes up at 3am every morning to journey to Curepe with his father. From there, he takes a taxi to his school in San Fernando.
On the football field, Boney, the St Benedict’s team captain, puts the work in as well. His 10 league goals in 2018 was the second highest tally in the Premier Division—behind only Kesean St Rose’s 13 items for St Augustine Secondary—and helped his school to fifth place.
Boney sat down to speak One on One with Wired868:
What is your date of birth?
3 February 2000
What is your home town?
Seeing that you reside in Manzanilla, what inspired you to go all the way to San Fernando to St Benedict’s College?
I used to attend Manzanilla Secondary and the coach I played under there was the assistant coach at St Benedict’s College. He saw my talent and potential and influenced me to go to St Benedict’s as it is somewhere he saw I can fully explore my potential.
What would be success for you as a player?
Success for me as a player would be making the Trinidad and Tobago National Senior Team before the age of 20. It is something I want to accomplish. But mainly, I want to attend college as I put schooling first.
After I finish school, I would like to play outside of the country—in Europe, preferably with Manchester United.
How would you describe yourself as person?
I am a very quiet person. I am humble and like to smile a lot. I like positive vibes, so I keep positive people around me. I do not attend parties, it is my personal choice.
Who were your most important coach(es) and why?
Hmmm…Actually there are four coaches who were very influential in my football career thus far. While growing up, we had a community team that played in community games. Richard Bocage was my first coach who helped me from as early as six years old with my weaknesses. He still coaches me up to now.
Charles Pollard was my coach from ages 10 to 14. He helped to strengthen my weaker areas in that I am now able to kick with my left foot. He also built up my confidence.
Coach Kevin Jeffrey coached me from age 14-16. He mainly focused on my technique, like my passing, dribbling and shooting as well as my positioning.
Coach Reynold Carrington coaches me at present together with coach Bocage. Coach Carrington believed in me, and pushed me further. Something about his leadership style inspires me to do better. I could never score a free kick before; I used to try a lot of stuff, looking at YouTube videos. Now I am able to do so.
I will say my current coach has had the most impact on pushing me and motivating me.
What makes you stand out as a player?
My work ethic. Again, I do not like to lose, so if I have to sprint twenty times around here to there—(he points to either end of the field)—to win, I will do it without hesitating.
What separates you from the rest of players?
I am not saying that other players cannot do the same but what I think makes me stand out is my fitness level and shooting technique.
How do you prepare yourself for an important game?
My preparation never changes, whether it is a big game or not. Prayer and a lot, a lot, a lot of music, even right up to the team talk before every game. Music helps to put me into the mood for the game. I do not have a specific genre to listen to; I listen to all types of music. I also pray a lot.
Who is your favourite player?
Anthony Martial. He is a French player currently playing in England for my favourite team, Manchester United. He is also a striker.
From a young age when I started to look at football, the first player that caught my eye was Cristiano Ronaldo and as that time he was playing with Manchester United, my heart has always been with Manchester United since then.
What was your best moment in football thus far?
My best moment in football thus far was making it in the National Under-17 Team back in 2016, even though I was on the bench. But my worst moment was with that team too as we lost the CFU (Caribbean Football Union) tournament and were not able to qualify, even though we hosted the tournament right here in Trinidad. We lost against Haiti 2-0 as well as against Jamaica, 3-2.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I play video games. I look at television. But I enjoy spending quality time with family the most, going out with them or simply staying at home and having a chat. I also do personal training. On my rest day I will try to at least get one hour of training done.
What is something that most people do not know about you?
Everyone knows I like football but most people do not know that I also enjoy playing cricket. I play in the windball tournament yearly in my community with my family. It is an annual charitable event that goes towards feeding the needy. I enjoy outdoor activities on the whole as I also play other sports such as netball and basketball for fun.
Also, I am spiritual person. I grew up in a praying household. My grandmother, my mom, my dad are all praying people. My aunt even contacted me earlier today to find out if I went to church.
What do you hope to do when you finish school?
My main aim is to attend St John’s University in New York to study psychology and sports management. This is because most of my family abroad live close by. It’s a great college, they are ranked 59th in the US. They also play Division One soccer, which is something I want to do.
Do you consider yourself as a role model?
Yes, I consider myself as an example to my peers and younger persons. Based on my leadership style, skills and attitude towards the game, I believe I do have an impact on the younger ones and even my peers. This is because I am not disrespectful, I am a humble person, I do not give trouble at school, I try my best to share positivity not only on the team but in and around the school as well.
I also always encourage others to push on to do better. I like motivating others. I am someone who always puts myself last.
What would be your advice to younger players?
My advice for anyone is when you go out on the field, always do your best and work as hard as possible. Prayer, dedication and hard work pay off.