US junior national team star Shaquell Moore is dreaming of playing for Manchester City but accepts he may have to start somewhere else first.
Moore, who is just 17 but turns out for his country’s under-20 side already, has turned heads in Europe with his fine performances both for the national team and at the IMG Academy in Florida.
The highly-rated midfielder is set to skip the traditional College soccer route into the professional game, and wants to earn a move to a European club as soon as possible.
He told Eurosport's Reda Maher:
“My dream team is Manchester City but I’ll probably have to start up somewhere else. The idea is Europe – England, Italy, Spain, Belgium or another European league.
“England may be tough initially because of work permit regulations, but Spain would be amazing, whether at a big club’s academy or a smaller team’s first team set-up.”
American sports has a culture peculiar to the country in that, traditionally, athletes of all sports are selected via the college draft system.
As a result, most MLS clubs do not have a comparable level of youth coaching facilities to their European counterparts.
This is where the IMG academy steps in, offering high-quality training for US athletes of senior high school age while allowing them to continue their education.
Some of its graduates continue through the College system, but Moore is eyeing a swift transition to club football, a transition which he hopes will see him earn senior national team colours for the United States and not Trinidad and Tobago, for whom he is also eligible.
“I want to go straight into the pro system, so IMG is the best place for me to maximise my talent.
“Three years ago I tried out for the Trinidad U15 team, getting ready for the World Cup cycle for this year.
“But that didn’t work out so I became involved with the US and joined the residency programme (where U16 and U17 prospects are coached full-time at IMG).
“I’m not really sure why it didn’t work out for Trinidad, it’s up to the coach, but there are no hard feelings.
“I’m still eligible if it doesn’t work out with the US. I’m not going to rule them out because of what happened at youth national.”
Moore’s dual eligibility comes from his father Wendell, who played for the Trinidad and Tobago national team.
There is no familial pressure to turn out for the Soca Warriors, though.
“My dad has completely left it up to me. I was born and raised in the US so (playing for the US) has always been a dream for me – but my dad played for TT so it’s in his heart.
“My brother also played for the TT U20 system – he’s in the College system now – so my dad is leaving it up to us.”
In addition to his pace, touch and reading of the game, Moore is also hugely versatile, able to play in a number of positions across the back and midfield.
His long-term hope is to cement his career in a role that many European clubs struggle to fill – the anchorman.
“My preferred position is defensive midfield, as I am able to both win and distribute the ball. I can also play as a full-back, as I enjoy overlapping and joining up with the attacks.
“I’m currently am playing right back for U20s, but I’m happy to play anywhere to help the team and improve my game.”
Indeed, you can watch his performances in an unfamiliar position, and make your own mind up about his potential. For now, things are looking good for Shaquell Moore.