Half a million people watched me take that shot. But it hasn’t always been like that. On the Korobka we felt invisible. No one came to watch us play. But we didn’t care. We played because we loved the game. We played to boss the cage. To score goals, Hard… fast… Every day… Nike liked our attitude and style. They wanted to bring this to the pro game. So they put cameras in Korobkas around the cities. Every game was a chance to get scouted. If you played well, and hit the button, your video was sent to pro scouts. From over eight thousand registrations,
only 100 of us were invited to the K11 trials. In just a few weeks, the chosen 22 would play against the Nike Academy. This is a huge step up for us. The wait was unbearable. But I was one of the lucky ones. From the whole of Russia, we were the K11. Training camp took our game to the next level. We started with medicals, everything was fine. We trained hard, every day, like a pro team. We loved every minute. We were the talk of the town. We had pro coaches, learned real tactics, and played proper opposition. We brought the best of the street in to the pro game. We arrived as 22 players from across Russia, but we left as one team. Game day. The most important 90 minutes of our lives. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. We tried to hide it, but it was all over our faces. But when they called our names, and we walked out on to that pitch, I’ll never forget. As soon as we kicked off we were under pressure. They were so fast and physical, we just weren’t ready. We made silly mistakes. But we started to grow in confidence. Nobody was taking us seriously. In a few weeks time we went from underdogs,
to competitors. We felt Russia believed. When they took the lead again, we could have let our heads drop, but we kept playing our game. We knew we could get another chance. 22 unknown players, we always had a dream and just seconds left on the clock, the chance fell to us… But it wasn’t to be.