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‘I Had My First Kid At 14 And Second At 16’ – Aston Villa Striker, Wesley


“At 14, I needed to get some money, because it was difficult at that
age. With my first kid, I said that I had to do everything to become a
footballer.”

Wesley’s dad passed away when he was just nine years
old. “When my father died, it was difficult because my mum was alone
with me and my brothers but she worked and now today I do everything for
her.

“When I finish training I call my mum because she is
everything. My mum did everything to help me play so everyday when I
come home I call her.” It’s not just his mother and brothers who he has
supporting Villa from back home in the south-east of Brazil.

“I
had my first child when I was 14 years old, it was difficult because it
was during this time that I started to try and play football
professionally. I had to work in the day and then go to training in the
evening.”

Playing football and being a father proved a tough
balancing act but he began to take the sport more seriously when baby
number two came along. “I was 14 when I had my first kid and 16 when I
had my second. When I had my children I told myself I had to do
everything to be a football player.”

It was a lot of pressure for
Wesley to deal with, the Premier League must seem like a breeze, “When I
play I have to think about my family, my kids, my mum, everybody.”

The
clock was ticking then. Make it as a professional footballer or get a
job in order to support his new family. Wesley made the journey to Spain
for six months but despite training and learning from Diego Costa, his
trial didn’t work out at Atletico Madrid.

Shorter spells in
France went the same way and he soon found himself back in Brazil
working in a factory, “I had to do something,” he says. “I had to get
money for my kids. I would go to a team and every team said no. I went
to six teams before going to Slovakia.

“When I went to the sixth
team I thought I didn’t want to play football anymore. I thought it was
finished for me. Then I got a chance.”

The opportunity came when
he was 19 in a small town called Trencin in Slovakia, quite the contrast
to what he was used to. “The first few weeks there were difficult. It
was very very cold. The first three months I think it was snowing all
the time.”

He gestures towards his toes. “I came from Brazil and I
couldn’t feel my feet so it was difficult to play football.”
Temperatures barely climbed above freezing in Trencin but that was where
Wesley’s career began to take an upward trajectory.

He
converted from a midfielder to a striker. “When you play midfield you
have to think fast and then I moved to play as a striker and kept
thinking fast.” A forward as sizeable as Wesley was a tricky proposition
for defenders and a transfer to Club Brugge in Belgium quickly
followed.

Nineteen league goals across two seasons saw Villa pay
out a club-record fee for Wesley following their promotion to the
Premier League, so does the 22-year-old think about what might have
been? “I am very happy playing in the Premier League in the biggest
competition in the world.

“Every day I think about the past, you
know, what I was thinking when teams were saying no to me so I’m very
happy now that I have this job.”

Wesley’s rise from struggling to
make ends meet in Brazil to early success in England becomes even more
remarkable when you consider that he has a condition he can do nothing
about.

His right leg is almost three centimetres shorter than his
left. “I don’t know what I can say”, he chuckles. “I have my legs like
this you know and I don’t have any pain or anything like that. I hope to
continue like this.”

Wesley’s head coach at Aston Villa Dean
Smith does his due diligence before signing any player. He goes to meet
them and looks for one particular first impression. “Can they hold a
conversation with me?” Smith says.

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Posted By in Football updates

Last Updated: October 19, 2019

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