Will Ozono Interview

Will Ozono Interview

Will Ozono is one of the fastest players we’ve seen and his personality matches his lightning pace and well… His boot choice does too! We sat down with the Volt+ wearer to discuss football, music and his love for smashing his opponents on FIFA...

What inspired you to play football?

I remember going into a sports store when I was young and I didn’t really know much about football because I was only about 2 years old and my Mum asked me what kit I liked so I picked up a Man Utd shirt and since then I’ve been supporting them.

So when did you start playing then?

My cousin came to stay at our house for a couple of days when I was 4 and we have quite a big garden so we went outside and when I kicked the ball and he was so surprised. I remember him calling my Dad over and telling him that I’ve got talent. I was doing drills, kicking the ball, tackling him, playing around in the garden and after I told my Dad that I liked football and it was fun. I watch Match Of The Day and admired Ronaldo doing step-overs and I remember trying them but I kept falling over cause the ball was so big. I told my Dad that I wanted to be a footballer and be like Thierry Henry and Didier Drogba and he registered me at David Beckham Academy, in Greenwich, when I was 5 years old. I started there and I was quite fast, just tearing up, dribbling and scoring goals for fun. There used to be different matches on different pitches and a woman brought me over and she knew I was good but the others weren’t so good around me so she asked me to calm down a bit. After that I told my Dad and I was confused because I couldn’t express myself fully as the other kids didn’t have the same ability. Then my Dad took me to a proper team, a local team about 15 minutes away from me where my older cousin also played.

What was the name of that team?

They were called Meridian JFC so I went for trials in Charlton, with the under 7’s. In the first session I got the ball from the goalie and dribbled past everyone before scoring and the manager shouted, “We’re gonna sign you!”. I remember that day very well. I spent 5 years with them and I was so attached to the club for those 5 years, my nickname at Meridian JFC was Speedo. I didn’t understand how important it was going to an academy because obviously starting an academy early you’ll have better training and everything.

What happened next?

So I was on trial for Bradford, Millwall and Charlton, all of them. I would go there and I’d be scared. I’d be frightened because it was different class and I didn’t understand how important football was back then so I’d come back and be like “I want to stay at Meridian…”. But when I started school boy football, it was next level for me. There was more people, I was scoring goals regularly and I went to Crystal Palace when I was in year 8 and after a 6 week trial I didn’t get in.

How did you feel about that?

It was a big shock for me because from my 6 years of playing football I was loved, everyone called me the best and I’d never been rejected. For me to get rejected that day, I cried in the car but my Dad was there to console me and told me what to do next. I knew I had to do something to make myself better. I couldn’t let it slide. This was around March/April… Six weeks holiday came and every single day I used to go out with my school friends and my Dad to train. Before I went to Palace I played for a local team called Thamesmead Town and during the holidays we were in pre season. I played 3 gamesthen and we won 6-1 and I scored 3, won 10-0 and I scored 5 and third game I scored one, then a scout named Bert called me. He had been at all three of those games and he told me he wanted to take me down to Palace for trials.

How did it go the second time round at Palace?

Well, I went to Charlton first... Done well. I liked it but then I went to Palace and I liked that even more. The team vibe was healthier and I stayed there for 6 weeks and did better than I did the first time and ended up getting signed. My coach loved me. He gave me a nickname called Will-O so everything was good. He used to tell me about players that would sign and take their foot off the pedal so he told me he wants me to keep going and keep pushing. I got signed in October 2013, then the year after and two weeks before my birthday we had Chelsea away. We went to the training ground and I saw a couple of the first team players and got excited because it was Chelsea so when I played the match I played really, really well and my manager was complimenting me after the game. Luckily enough, my academy director watched the game! Jack Measure my under 14 coach spoke to my Dad and told him how well I’d done and how well I’d been playing. Two weeks after my 14th birthday we had reviews and my coach was like “We’re not going to give you two years, we’re going to give you four!”. So that took me up to under 16’s and now my two year scholarship - so that’s what happened and I’ve been at Palace since!

Did you feel the first rejection affected the way you went about your business the second time?

The guy that rejected me the first time said I was fast but I just wasn’t quite there technically. He suggested I go and put in some extra hours in the garden doing kick ups but I knew I could do much more than that, such as improving my tactical knowledge, first touch, ball control and dribbling at pace with the ball. The improvement was significant because they signed me the second time. So for people who suffer rejection, use the pain you felt as motivation and strive to be better; then when the opportunity is there, show them what they have been missing.

At Palace, who’s been the most influential character to date?

It has to be Jack Measure. I was the type of player that would always ask for advice and how to improve. When I was under 14’s, most training sessions I would ask Jack what could I do better and what can I do to improve. He’d tell me in great depth and occasionally bring me over to actually perform it 20 minutes before training. He used to give us homework like how often did the ball see us in games and I always done it. There was a match against Millwall that we won and that week I was the only player to do the homework and he knew I was taking it serious from then. He always used to give me good encouragement. He knew I had the power and pace to play and if I add in the dirty work and defend for my team, I was heading in the right direction.

If you were to say your style resembled a player in football today, who would it be?

I’d say Cuadrado from Chelsea. People say I look like him as well, cause my hair… I always watch him and we play similar. He works hard, that’s the main attribute that I get from him. You see him slide tackling and you don’t see many wingers slide tackle and I do that sometimes when it’s needed for my team. He’s got lots of pace, he’s strong, whips balls in and when he has to finish he’ll finish.

What would you say is your strongest attribute?

I’m very fast. When I get going I’m like a train. I’ve improved a lot because I just used to kick the ball long and run onto it, whereas now I shift the ball quicker and add a bit of flair. When it comes to the 20 metre sprints, I’m top in my age group. I get 2.7/2.8 seconds and at age 14 I got the fastest time, which was up there with the scholars at that time. It’s nice to see clubs take an interest in people’s strengths. Speed is definitely my biggest asset.

What do you do outside of football?

It’s all football. After training I either get home, eat and sleep or get home and play FIFA. I think I’m so good on FIFA and kwengin’ people gets me so excited. When I’m pumping goals against other people online, boy it’s the key to my satisfaction.

What team do you play with on FIFA then?

My go to team is… Well, that’s a tough one because usually I play as a bad team to make people look bad, haha! I’m at that level. When I’m against a good opponent I’ll be Bayern though. The squad depth they have is unreal. Sometimes I think I’m a nerd when I play FIFA because I know everything. I have a habit of if I do lose a game against a friend, I would not stop playing them till I beat them. I get really emotional when I play, my Dad’s always tells me to quiet down but I’m like “Dad! My pride is on the line…”. I have to play and win.

XBOX or PS4?

PS4. I used to have XBOX but everyone’s on PS4 now so I had to get one cause I didn’t want to feel left out.

What music are you into?

Every single type of music. Rap & trap music, bashment and soca. When I’m in the car with my Mum she listens to Magic FM and you know them old songs, I’m vibesing to them in the car but I don’t want my Mum to know cause she thinks I only like my songs but secretly I’m vibesing. I like afro beats too… Just any type of music that I can dance to.

Is there a specific artist you like to listen to before a game?

To be honest I don’t really have a favourite artist, I listen to soca because of the vibes. Everyone’s happy and dancing plus rap music because it just gasses me! Both types of music makes me feel good and puts me in the mood to just dance and leave my fullbacks behind...

What was your first training session like in the boots?

Well, I came into training and there were two big boxes with the boots in them. I ripped them open and a few of the lads were asking me what they were so I told them and they had a little laugh between themselves. I tried them on and they felt good, had a walk about in them and a few of my team-mates were sniggering so I told them “What’s funny darg, you’ll see what I do on the pitch with them!”. I went outside early to get a feel for them before getting into a little 6 versus 6 game. I got the ball on the right, took a touch and turned inside which beat two players and then just shot the ball with POWER and it was with my weaker foot too. It literally went top bins! My coaches were screaming. I just told them it was the boots and I’m a Concave man now so expect to see me doing some dirt in these!

So have you felt the additional power of the Concave element?

When I first tried on Concave boots I just felt more agile cause they were lighter than what I was wearing before so I could run faster in them. When I’m shooting the ball right… The balls that we use, the Premier League balls are so hard, when I shoot with them I don’t feel the hardness with the boots, whereas other boots you could feel it hurting when you kicked the ball.

Where’s Will Ozono heading in the future?

My ambition is to get my pro contract by next year and hope Alan Pardew gives me the opportunity to compete with Zaha or Townsend, if that doesn’t happen I’d like to go on loan to gain my experience up and then hopefully come back into the Premiership and make a mark. Obviously I want to win trophies but for now just getting into the Premiership is the goal.

What advice would you give to any young footballers?

I would say for anyone who’s not at a club or wants to get into a pro club, firstly don’t let anyone choose your grind or effect what you want to do in life whether its football or not. Too many people rely on what others do and act upon it, instead of doing what they want to do. Make sure YOU choose your grind and buss it and just keep working hard. Don’t let excuses ruin your performances. Be versatile and be open to hearing what you done wrong in training or games because that’s the only way you will improve; knowing what you can do to progress is the best thing to know in my opinion! You must aim to play 10/10 in every game as well. Those 3 matches I was talking about earlier, I didn’t know anyone was watching. The place was empty but that one scout was watching and now I’m here. Put your all into everything. Leave the pitch knowing you’ve done everything you can to affect your team, your performance and the scoreline, because if you don’t you’ll have a lot of guilt. Football is not easy, it is the hardest industry in the world but if you keep learning, getting your priorities straight and working hard; you’ll find that things will finally fall into place.

Writen by Concave @ 17/10/2016 05:05

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