So what draws a lad from sunny Santa Coloma in Barcelona, to a town that experiences a slighty-above-average amount of rainfall every year?
Starting his second season at Manchester Futsal Club, we meet Joaquin Doñate Garcia, known to his friends and teammates as Kimet, at Salford Lads Club.
Salford Lad’s Club is known worldwide as an emblematic venue to fans of The Smiths and a personal pilgrimage for this Futsal player.
“This is such an iconic venue and somewhere that I hadn’t had the chance to visit yet”
“I love Morrissey and The Smiths, from an early age both my father and my uncle would play their music so it has lots of memories for me and to get the chance to come here is a dream come true”
The rain has held off on this slightly overcast Autumn morning, and as the photographer sets up Kimet starts practicing his Futsal skills.
“Growing up in Spain everyone played Futsal. From the age of four, I was constantly playing with my friends and always had a futsal ball to practice with. I even played professionally in my home town of Santa Coloma during the 2013/14 season”
“The idols of my Futsal career are definitely players like Ricardinho. Ricardinho is the man! But when I was a child I was fascinated with Paulo Roberto he played for El Pozo Murcia on 90’s, he’s one of the best pivots I’ve ever seen”
Pivot is the position that is home to Kimet on the court too. A new chapter in his Futsal career began in September 2017. Manchester Futsal Club were recruiting for new players and their paths crossed.
“I was looking for a new opportunity and I also wanted to improve my English, coming to join Manchester Futsal Club felt like the perfect fit”.
As he practices his skills, his arm tattoo sleeve is on full display, painting a portrait of the music scene in Manchester in the 80’s. Detailing everything from a young Morrissey to a classic Joy Division album, they all have strong meanings for him.
“For me tattoos are art. My friend Beve is a tattoo artist, she did all my tattoos for me. She’ll call me and be like, hey I have an idea, what do you think about this….and we just go for it! She’s the best”
“It was around four years ago that I got my Morrissey tattoo, my tattoos have a strong link to my family who introduced me to the music”.
It’s easy to see talking with him that family play an important role in his life.
“My favourite match and highlight from last season was against Tranmere at home. My mum, sister and niece came to visit me, and I was able to dedicate the victory to them when I scored 4 of the 6 goals”.
As we sit down to chat inside the club over a cup of tea, he opens up more about the role that his family play in his life and in his Futsal career.
“My dad was my biggest supporter but sadly he died when I was a kid. My mom has always supported me with my sister and my uncle ( he’s like a father to me ) and obviously my friends they are always with me, even in the bad moments. They came twice last season from Barcelona to Manchester just to watch me playing!”.
“I feel like I play differently when my family and friends are watching. As living in Manchester means that I am away from them for long periods of time, when the come to watch me, they inspire me so much to play my best”
“It really is something special for me when they come to watch me play”
As he scrolls through his camera roll proudly showing pictures of his family and friends there is another ‘person’ that he misses from back home he would love to bring.
Verano, his dog, a soft-hearted Japanese Akita, who he has also dedicated his newest tattoo too. “He’s my boy!”
As he sips on his tea he reflects on how he feels the new season has started for the club.
“It was a bit of a weird atmosphere after the game with Helvécia, finishing the first half we had a good feeling but the second half didn’t go our way and highlighted some of the areas that we need to work on. I had to take a step back and reflect ”
The first game defeat did hit him quite hard, particularly coming off last season as one of the top goal scorers in the team.
“I went back into training with a new determination and I feel that this paid off in the game against Loughborough. The team defended well and pushed forward. I was also able score two goals which felt like a relief to me, getting these goals early in the season makes me even more optimistic for the rest of the season”
“I feel comfortable playing with the team, I get on well with everyone and I can see myself staying here for a long time”.
Wandering round the dedicated ‘Smiths’ room conversation turns to his free time.
“There is so much to do in Manchester, lots of nice places to go and the people are also so nice. It feels like a second home to me”.
“One of my favourite nights out in Manchester is at The Morrissey Smiths Disco at The Star & Garter. Good friends and great music is the perfect combination for a top night out”.
The Manchester slang has definitely settled with this Spanish lad, (“Sound that” as he looks through the initial shots from the day)
The love that he has for the city is abundant and shines through when he talks, although as with a lot of people that move to this Northern city he did have one complaint.
“The weather!! I guess that I am getting used to it now but the first month that I lived here it was such a shock and it was difficult for me to adjust to it"
As he gets up to leave, Futsal ball tucked under his arm, the first few drops of rain start to fall, “Now I’m definitely much more used to it. I love Manchester”.
Catch Kimet in action with the rest of the team at the next Home Game of the season on Sunday 28th October 2018 at the HSBC National Cycling Centre - Tickets available now -
Click here to purchase this seasons Away Kit
Photography - Liam Heeley