Bringing his street skills from Amsterdam to centre stage at Manchester Futsal Club, Raducio King, is one of the key players that joined the team nearly a decade ago when the club was in its infancy.
“2 years after the club was established I met the owners and they made me feel welcome straight away, I’ve not stopped playing the game here since”
A central player both on and off the court, he has helped to establish the first team, and is working as a coach in the Youth Academy Programme ran by Manchester Futsal Club.
Known by the nickname ‘Kingy', he’d been developing his street football skills from the age of 8, playing all day every day in his native Holland. This helped him to develop and evolve more expressive technical moves.
“The culture of street football in Holland is something that I have been able to use and adapt in Futsal. It was part of everyday life to me to be playing and practicing my skills”
“Everybody would be out in the streets playing football, I could literally walk out of my front door into a game, everyone was playing. Kids would knock on my door and ask for me to come out and join in”
The culture of street football that he knew growing up was turned on its head when at the age of 18 he moved to Manchester with his family.
“The biggest shock for me was when I arrived in Manchester. I was settling into a new house with my family, I took a walk around the area and it was so different. There were no kids out on the street playing football, there were no outdoor courts. The first outdoor court I came across after walking the streets for a while was full of kids, but they were smoking and just hanging around there”.
“I didn’t like this change, it wasn’t me. I wanted to have the ball at my feet and be playing all the time but there was nowhere that I could. I asked around at college if people played and was met with a series of no’s”.
Fortunately for Kingy during his time at college he was introduced to Simon Wright, the chairman of Manchester Futsal Club and that is where his Futsal story began.
“This is what I’d been looking for, this is where I felt at home”
We meet in Manchester’s Northern Quarter which forms the backdrop for today’s photo shoot.
“Manchester is a place that I do enjoy living in, I feel like I have grown in this city and there is a lot to do and explore. Also, the nightlife here is amazing. A lot of my day to day time is definitely spent within different training grounds, whether that is training with the first team, coaching our Academy kids or working at Manchester United”
As the interview progresses it is certainly apparent to see what an all-round easy-going people person he is. He fills the time on the shoot with banter and laughter, chatting with everyone and when asked to describe himself in one word; he gives the perfect answer of ‘character’.
What also strikes you when he talks is what a humble person he is.
Recalling his Futsal career to date, this is a player who has seen Futsal take him to many different corners of the world, from countries such as India to America and everywhere in between. He has played both with and against many of the sport’s greatest icons. Not many players in the Futsal world can get to say that they have played on a team with the person that they described as their favourite player growing up.
“My all-time favourite futsal player is Ricardinho because when I started playing futsal, he came on the scene and he just smashed it. I wasn’t in the game that long to be knowing Falcão the way I know Ricardinho. Ricardinho is my guy”
This amazing chance came for Kingy when he was picked to play in the PFL All Star game where he was placed into Ricardinho's team to play against Falcão and his team in Summer 2016. The progression only continued for him with Summer 2017 seeing him join the Premier Futsal League in India, as a member of the Bengaluru Royals, captained by Paul Scholes. This journey took him and the team through to the semi-finals, playing against teams captained by icons such as Ronaldinho and Giggs.
“Playing in India in the Premier Futsal League was definitely a highlight from last season, I really appreciated the chance to get that experience. When you are playing in the presence of greatness you must be sincerely grateful to share these moments together”
Although Futsal has taken him all over the world he talks with great affection for Manchester Futsal Club and the opportunities that it has given to him, and also the support from the people he describes as his Manchester Futsal Family.
“These guys, people like Simon Wright, Ilya Oveckhin and Sam Richardson, they have been a source of support for me throughout my career”
“I get on well with all the team, and I like being a part of Manchester Futsal Club”
It’s also interesting when he recalls some of his favourite moments with the team, as they aren’t what you would typically expect.
"Definitely games like the FA Futsal Cup final and the Playoff finals. They were long days, and they weren’t games that we won, but we played as a team and created many great memories both on and off the court. Some that I probably shouldn’t disclose!" he says with a laugh.
As one of the longest standing members of the team, he definitely feels a responsibility to set a good example and to help motivate others.
“I like to help when help is needed and give guidance, we are a team on the court and I want to set the tone. I push myself every time we play and want to push others to play their best”
Talk turns to the current season and how he hopes it will play out.
“Of course, we want to win the league this season, but when it comes to matches I take each one as it comes. I approach all the games the same way, I go out there on the court and I play my best whether it’s a friendly or a final”.
It is this attitude that makes him a great role model for the rest of the team but also for the kids at the Manchester Futsal Academy. A dominant player on the court while being both calm and controlled, he has created a great image for the sport and it has also made him a great idol for the next generation of players to look up to.
“I appreciate the youth teams coming to watch me at the home games, to see them turn up to watch me play is always a humbling experience”
“My mum told me - always do your best. It’s important to be humble. That’s the key. They’re not there for you, you’re there for them, and this is something that I always remember”
The youth academy at Manchester Futsal Club is going from strength to strength and growing in numbers every year.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what this next generation has to bring and the direction that Futsal will be heading in”
This is also very personal to Kingy as his time at the club is turning into a family affair.
“I’ve got 4 younger brothers, and I feel a responsibility to them because they look up to me. I’ve helped to raise them, and I want them to see me as a good role model”.
“They come to watch me at the games and I get them involved in the youth academy to help them develop their techniques and skills.I want them to have a similar experience to what I had growing up, a similar street culture of playing which Futsal can give them. They are getting the opportunity to be in these environments where they get to just play”.
As time on the shoot wraps and Kingy departs it’s clear to see that the next generation of Futsal stars are in safe hands.
A fan favourite on the court and in demand coach off the court, this Dutch magician is well on his was to cementing legend status at the club.
Catch Kingy in action along with the rest of the first team this Sunday 28th October at the HSBC National Cycling Centre - Tickets Available Here
MFC Official Shirts Available to buy - Click Here