With an eye on a bigger dream, Johnson Mathews aims to take one step at a time

At 18, Johnson Mathews has already made his mark in Mumbai football with some stellar performances in the last few years and will now represent Hyderabad FC reserves.

At 18, Johnson Mathews has already made his mark in Mumbai football with some stellar performances in the last few years and will now represent Hyderabad FC reserves.

Johnson’s first encounter with football came back when he was around 7 years old participating in a local fun competition, where contestant had to put a football in to a tyre. Perhaps that and his parents support for football decided his fate with the game as Johnson hasn’t looked back ever since.

Over the years, Johnson has featured for various teams in age group leagues including former I League club Mumbai FC (Johnson’s first ever club) for whom he represented in U15 I League.  Since the closure of the club, Johnson went on to join one of the top academies of Mumbai – PIFA FC, with whom he played in U18 I League. Last season he represented FC Pune City’s U18 side and played a vital role in the club’s title winning campaign.

Starting out as a striker for his school team St. Francis D’Assisi to leading Mumbai’s Juniors in Inter-District Championship  and then further representing Maharashtra in prestigious Santosh Trophy this year, Johnson has been a standout performer and one to watch out for wherever he played.

Player Agent Wilbur Lasrado, who represents Johnson, says the kid has something in him that provided the right platform can bloom extensively, “Johnson for me is all about good Vibes, big goals, hard work, passion and hustle. He ticked all the boxes that we would want a player to have. The purpose to sign him up at a young age was to help him get a platform to stay focused on what really matters.”

The shutdown of Mumbai FC has hurt Mumbai Football deeply and although Mumbai City FC does represent Mumbai in a national league, a single club is not enough to provide for all the city players. Like Wilbur says, “There is a pool of talent here in Mumbai; however there isn’t enough platforms to make it big.”

Johnson who was part of Mumbai FC U15 has over the years played a lot in local Mumbai tournaments like Borivali Premier League, where he represented and played a vital role for three time champions Fleet Footers FC. Johnson believes these leagues are where young footballers can choose to showcase themselves.”These tournaments are a platform to a lot of young players like me where we gain a lot of confidence and experience with playing alongside some experienced individuals and tough opponents. It helps me to keep myself in shape and fit even in my off-season.”

Talking about his motivation in the game, Johnson states, “The ‘WILL’ to never give up come what may and the desire to always strive to get a step further is something which keeps me motivated always.”

As a striker, Johnson sets targets for himself yet keeps it simple. “Yes, I do have some realistic targets that I set before the season starts however for me it’s always to go 100% in to every game, (one game at a time step by step is how I always like to approach the season). I make sure I do not get nervous as it just limits my quality.” states Johnson, who idolizes Cristiano Ronaldo and admires Bengaluru FC winger Udanta Singh among Indian footballers.

Johnson credits his family, friends, coaches and his agent Wilbur has being the biggest motivator in his football journey. Although the game is played on the field, Johnson makes sure he seeks blessings & best wishes from his parents before every game something that has now become a pre-match ritual.

About his upcoming season with Hyderabad FC reserves, Johnson adds “Looking forward to a good season ahead. I want to give my best and move step by step.”

Going forward Johnson isn’t rushing into his dreams instead wants to take one step at a time, with age on his hands and the talent that he possesses it won’t be long before he breaks out in to the national scene.

Similar Reads: Asif Khan: From College Football to the ISL Main Team

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