How many of us are lucky enough to train at Carrington ground and tour the Theatre of Dreams? Well, Myron Fernandes has been lucky not once but twice; the second time having been trained at Leicester City Football Club. Add to that, he narrowly missed out on joining his state mate Brandon Fernandes at the Cape United Soccer School of Exellence, South Africa. When someone achieves all this at a tender age of 17, you know the kid is special.
Myron in London, during the Manchester United Soccer School Programme.
Hailing from Mapusa, Goa, Myron started playing football at the early age of 9, but his passion for the beautiful game started much earlier. “I always wanted to play football and my parents were very supportive from the beginning”, said Myron speaking exclusively to TheHardTackle. Noticing his interest in football, his parents encouraged him and gave him all the backing at an early age. Having his uncle Sebastian D’Costa, who played for the Churchill senior team, to mentor him, was an added advantage. Myron’s footballing exploits started as early as the fifth standard when he was in the U-14 team of St. Britto’s High School, at the age of 11. “Fr. Cecil from St. Britto’s was my first real mentor and he gave me the confidence that was needed early on as I started playing” said Myron, recalling the times when he was nurtured by Fr. Cecil and the P.E teachers of St. Britto High School, Mapusa.
Later on, he trained under Agostinho Dias (now with Sesa Football Academy Juniors) at Goa United Sports academy, one of the premier clubs in Goa promoting young talent. “My stint with Goa United helped me a lot. It gave me the confidence that I could be the best and coach Agostingho was of great help at that time” said Myron, who credits Agostinho Antao and Armando Colaco for being the most influential people in his career thus far. He also acknowledges the role played by Stanley (Manager at Goa United) and Fabiano (Secretary, Goa United).
Myron with the trainees, including Brandon Fernandes, at Old Trafford.
Seeing his prodigious talent, his village club Benny XI hired him to play for their team in the GFA First Division League, one step lower than the Professional League in Goa’s football hierarchy. At Benny XI, Myron who was only 15 then played with people twice his age but never once was he unnerved, putting in superb performances and scoring an astonishing six goals. These performances caught the eyes of Dempo junior coaches Mathew D’Costa and the late Ashok Arolkar, who then brought him to Dempo.
In 2008, Myron was selected for the Goa U-15 state team that went to Portugal for training and participating in a tournament, under the tutelage of Francisco Bruto Da Costa, assistant to Colin Toal and now presently with the India Juniors. In Portugal, they practiced at Vitoria Guimaraes Academy, considered one of the finest in Portugal, for around a week, playing clubs such as Sporting Braga, Boa Vista and Benfica and also played a tournament against local club sides. During the same year, Myron represented Goa in the U-16 Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy in Uttarakhand in 2009, under India Juniors goalkeeping coach Mario Aguiar. These two stints helped him develop immensely as a player.
Then came his favorite moment, as he was selected for the prestigious Manchester United Soccer Schools Programme along with 13 other kids from Goa, including Brandon Fernandes. “Going to Manchester was like a dream come true for me, although we didn’t get to see the Manchester United players training as they were in South Africa for their pre-season programme, training at Carrington ground under some of the most fantastic coaches in the world made it a great experience” recalled Myron. There were players from all countries, and in the end the thirteen Goan boys played against the best 11 from the rest of the world, beating them 3-1.
Myron with Gary Linekar.
The following year, Myron was the only Indian selected for the Gary Linekar scholarship, that saw him travel to Leicester City Football Club for two weeks to train with their youth teams. At Leicester City FC, he trained with their U-18 team and also had the privilege of watching a couple of Coca-Cola Championship games live, one at The Walkers Stadium (Leicester City FC v Watford) and the other in London (Reading v Watford).”Both my tours to England were very good experiences. I learnt a lot there. The weather also was extremely good and there is a tremendous response for sports there, unlike in India. Parents there, encourage their children in sports specially football”, said Myron, when quizzed about his two experiences in England.
When asked about the difference in the coaching standards in India and abroad, Myron pointed out that Indian coaches were as good as their foreign counterparts. “We have quality coaches in India, the only thing lacking are the facilities. Looking at the lush green ground and other facilities in England made me envy the kids abroad since we don’t get such good facilities in India”. When asked which trip to England he enjoyed more, Myron said that the Leicester City camp was the one he enjoyed more as he was there for a longer duration and the coaches there got more time to train him with respect to his fitness and other footballing skills.
It has been three years since Myron has been with the senior Dempo team. He was even registered in last years I-League team, although he didn’t get to play. He has made quite a number of starts for Dempo in the Goa Professional League and was also a member of the squad that reached the semi-finals of last years U-19 League. Revealing his future plans, Myron said that he would continue to work hard and improve on his shooting and body strength. This season, he aspires to start regularly for Dempo and try to break into the first team. He added that that representing the National team is his ultimate aim.
We, here at TheHardTackle, hope that Myron realizes his true potential and goes on to play for the India National Team.
Five Interesting Facts About Myron Fernandes:
1. His favorite club is Manchester United.
2. His favorite player is Cristiano Ronaldo.
3. The moment Myron cherishes the most is when he toured Old Trafford.
4. Myron, at the age of 17, was one of the youngest to be in the Dempo senior squad.
5. He was also one of the youngest ever players to play in the GFA First Division League.
Other article in “Profiling The Future” Series: