23rd year old attacker Kean Lewis will look to make his mark in season 3 of the Hero Indian Super League when he dons the colors of last season’s semi-finalist, Delhi Dynamos FC. Under the guidance of former World Cup winner Gianluca Zambrotta, Kean will be one of the young players to watch out for once the league commences.
Kean fielded several questions & was quizzed about how he took up the game of football to which he responded, “As a kid, I was quite athletic and had tons of energy to burn. I played many sports and was good at it. I ended up playing football for my school team. The school principal pushed my parents to send me for trials. During the trials, I started realizing that I was good at football.
”At the age of 14, Kean spent a few weeks on trial with current Premier League Champions, Leicester City & remarked about his experience, “The experience to train with a top team like Leicester is incomparable. Now everyone knows Leicester because they won the title. When I was on trial they were playing at Championship level, but were still very good. I trained with the U-14 and U-16 academy squads. Everything was professional and organized. Unfortunately, the decision to relocate to UK and leave everything behind in India was a difficult one for me.
”After his trials at Leicester City came to an end, Kean returned to India and spoke of the excellent conditions he was afforded at the Tata Football Academy (TFA). Kean said “Soon after, I came back from Leicester and went for the U-19 I-league with Mahindra United to Jharkhand, I was picked up by TFA. As a football academy, it was the best in India, with the best players, gym facility, medical and coaching staff. But I wished to continue with my education, so I continued doing correspondence studies through a state board in Maharashtra.
”The young attacker spoke about why he decided to leave India to further both his sporting and academic ambitions through his experience in the US, “With sports being an unpredictable field, my family was worried as to whether my education would start taking a backseat. They thought that I should go to the US and do both; study to get a degree and play football.
”Initially, it took a while to get accustomed to the training style. Fitness testing and conditioning were new aspects of football that I was introduced to within the first few weeks. My freshman year was a bit of a struggle, few starts and battling positions with seniors. My sophomore year I started the first seven games before suffering an ACL [Anterior Cruciate Ligament] tear and was out for the season. My junior year we went on to win the title of the Northeast Conference. My senior year I ended up being awarded the best player of the year on the team, also known as the ‘Knight Award’.
”Kean represented Mohun Bagan in the previous Hero I-League season and here’s what he had to say about the experience compared to the US, “Indian football is very different. It is not the same as teams abroad. As a country, India is still developing in football. We still have to learn much more from how foreign clubs run their programmes. The US football programmes are planned and organized. Right from player development, to academy training, to scientific methods of coaching, nutrition, management and professionalism, everything is pre-planned. Playing in front of a large number of supporters and fans, and winning the Hero Federation Cup and scoring a second spot in the Hero I-league was a great experience.
”Kean Lewis is also looking forward to his first Hero ISL experience & was thoroughly impressed with what Delhi Dynamos had to offer. He said, “I met the Delhi Dynamos management and have seen the quality of players, coaches that they have garnered in the past season. Personally, Delhi is a city that I have not visited much. So this year I wanted to experience how it would be to play for a team which happens to be the only club in north of India.
”He also shared thoughts on the ISL saying, “In terms of professionalism and infrastructure, I think ISL is better than I-league teams. With foreign coaches and foreign players the standard of the game and training is also of another level. With the experience of foreign players and young Indian players, it’s good exposure for Indians and also for I-league teams.
”The young attacker is also looking forward to working with the Lions’ new head-coach & World Cup winner – Gianluca Zambrotta. “It is going to be my first time playing under a World Cup player. We’ve seen in the World Cups that Italy was known for its defence, I’m sure that’s going to be a learning area for me as I’m an offensive player trying to overcome the defence.
”Kean is also keen to make a mark in the ISL and boost his chances of fulfilling his dream of wearing the Indian National Team colors at some point in the future. “Yes, one of my goals is to play for the national team. That is also one of the reasons why I came back to India to continue my football career.
”With him currently enjoying a break due to the end of the football season, Kean also opened up about how he spends time cooling his heels after a grueling season. “Usually during offseason, I go for treks. I even like to go swimming or try out new food. I love travelling and I like to be amidst nature, so weekend getaways to the beach or hill station are always on. I also like to do art.”
– ISL Media