AT the age of 17, Billy Forbes has the option of making money with his football skills, but he chooses not to—at least not yet.
Instead the national player has decided to accept a scholarship for college.
Next week Forbes will begin his journey to Western Texas College in Snyder Texas, where he is expected to read for an associate degree in Liberal Arts and of course play football.
Hitting the books was not the first option for the youngster. “It was not my intention to go to school,” Forbes said. “I was looking to go pro, to make money for my family and not go to college.”
But family and friends, along with Coach Oliver Smith (who basically streamlined it all), influenced the youngster.
It was Forbes’s decision to make. No pressure. Even before accepting the scholarship, Forbes was given a change to experience life on a pro-team.
Through the initiative of Smith the TCI player went on a training stint with a Canadian club, the Vancouver Whitecaps, early July.
Smith said he was impressed with the club because it had an “excellent residency programme designed to develop youth players and transition them to the pro ranks.”
Forbes, who was expected to go last year but experienced visa problems, was a big hit.
After his 10-day stint, the coaches for both teams (residency and senior) we're impressed with his skills and his attitude and eagerness to improve his game.
Smith said they invited Billy back to tryout for an under-21 team that the Whitecaps will form next year.
The team will support and feed players to the senior team that will be playing in the Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2011.
Playing for the club has now been thrown on the backburner for Forbes. Right now his mind is on college.
Gleaming with excitement he said “my mom feels great. Oh and my dad, he is really proud.”
To Forbes: “when you play college ball, you can go pro after, but once you go pro, you can’t play college ball.”
Smith said that the college is happy to have Forbes and the team is hoping that he can help take them to the nationals this year.
Some of the players from the college are from the US, Europe, Brazil and Jamaica.
Forbes will be the first player from the TCI.
So what will Forbes do with his Liberal Arts degree? If he has his wish—he would not use it.
“I don’t think about anything except football—a footballer is my only career aim.”