Young soccer player Yank Cumba is living what we would call the true “American Dream”. The player who developed in Bondi with Kylian Mbappe is indeed one of those young players who managed to rebuild themselves during an atypical tournament. Between the travel to Istanbul, the family circle, and the current birth in the United States, the story of a young career really rich in twists and turns, and useful in a sometimes mysterious world.
Hi Lianick, we wanted to discuss your background with you. After I started growing young in Ile-de-France, I chose to go to Turkey. Why this choice?
- When I had the opportunity to develop in Turkey, it was my first time playing professionally for the Antalya team. It is always difficult to leave your family, especially at a very young age, to move abroad, but this is part of the footballer’s sacrifice to achieve success. Moreover, I find it crazy to tell myself today that I have visited so many countries thanks to a leather ball!
Unfortunately in some families that play football we give blind trust to agents and my family this has been the case. They never met my first agent, and with what happened they learned from their mistakes and met with others to see if their plans were serious or if they were only working for their own benefit.
What was your personal relationship with clients?
- I was very happy and on my toes at the same time, because in the football world, clients are like sharks looking for a “good pigeon”. To be honest with you, I was the type of footballer who didn’t believe in all these myths because before I had never had an agent who called me directly to give me an experience abroad: They always went through my coach. I thought it was all about level, especially merit. I find this a shame because there are great clients out there and giving their all, and I can see that in this environment, some are taking advantage of that and using the credibility of others.
If I understand correctly, your bad experience comes from the agent who allowed you to try your luck in Turkey?
- My first agent was Turkish and had very strong connections in Turkey, so with a few players from the club from my time, we decided to develop with this agent. In fact, I was motivated to make this decision.
He had met us in a luxury hotel and had started asking us questions about the money we were receiving in France. It was clear that no one was making any money: we were not professional players. He replied, I quote, “I promise that you will get a very exciting professional contract with me with one condition: You must sign this liability contract between you and me“.
The problem was that the contract was entirely in Turkish, which we couldn’t understand: He knew we couldn’t read the contract. My coach at the time and the players were hesitant, but not me. I told myself that I had nothing to lose and the agent was starting to blackmail that he would not take us to Istanbul until we signed these contracts. In fact, in these contracts, it was indicated that he could accept or reject an offer from a Turkish club for a period of two years instead of us in case of the latter’s interest.
What are the consequences of this for your experience in Turkey?
- During my country try out (Test) Several professional clubs saw me and asked for information on me. I found out thanks to a French professional footballer who had been playing in Turkey for a few years, and here I learned the whole truth. There were 3 clubs who wanted me but my old agent turned down all offers because the signing bonus he was going to receive was not within those expectations.
With my team mates, we left for the airport one day before our flight to France took off without any escort because the agent had disappeared right after what happened. We were alone and two hours away from Istanbul Airport Sabiha Gokcen without money. We had to spend the night at the airport. On the other hand, it taught me to have a solid mind and never make the same mistakes again. My trip to the US caused quite a stir as he tried to call me again, but unfortunately he had to deal with my email. It was a good experience serving me for the future, as a mistake is another step towards success.
Despite your money maneuvers, do you still have some good memories of Turkey?
- Going to Turkey was definitely a short-lived experience for me, but it was very beneficial. The differences I found compared to France were foremost in terms of transportation at first. It’s easier to get around in France because the rail network is important there. What struck me then was that when you land at the airport, you feel that football in their culture is very important. I’ve been asked to take at least ten selfies. Whether she was a flight attendant or a flight attendant, they were extremely generous and a fan when I told them which club I was supposed to play at.
Let’s get back to your current experience in the United States. How did you envision leaving after your failed attempt in Turkey?
- Going to the US isn’t for everyone. To get there, you have to make many sacrifices, and you have to surround yourself with people with the same goals and ambitions as you. At the time, a retinue held me back greatly. They told me they did not believe in me: “What do you think of your teammates being there?” And when I said that I was late due to my nearsightedness, because I developed all my youth without glasses, I was described as crazy.
Sure I think I’m crazy, it’s true, I train very late at night so hard, I regularly leave my family because of football but at least I’m happy to say I don’t lie to myself. I am happy to continue doing what I have always wanted to do since I was little, while others lie to themselves and prefer to criticize rather than take risks. These “other” people are no longer part of my entourage because we do not have the same values and when men have values, they necessarily have enemies. It was a challenge for me to prove to them that after my failed attempt to hire a professional in Turkey, I continue to play football and that I thrive in learning new cultures and languages.
The recruitment and post-training process in the US is not well known in Europe, can you explain to us how it has gone for you?
- I went to the United States with the agency ProfessionGreat guys who are listening: For once I feel framed in my football career thanks to them.
I evolve in Southern New Hampshire University For the program “Penmen Men’s Soccer”. In the United States this culture of sport already exists and there is an infrastructure worthy of the biggest professional clubs in Europe. I feel fulfilled and focused in my goal of becoming a professional soccer player in the United States through a system called ” ProjectThese are college players like me who were selected in their final year of college eligibility (NCAA) by MLS franchises (football LeagueMajor League Soccer in the USA (Editor’s Note) to play in the league.
How do you see the quality of football in the United States?
- To be honest, this is football (Editor’s note: In the US, the term football Associated with American football) in the United States is more complex than one might imagine. It’s not just about North American players. This must be emphasized because there are the best players from South America (Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico …), who dream of playing in the American University League, and they must have the level to get a scholarship without counting the Europeans. Players who are there too. Going to the US is more than just Plan B, it is a life choice to become a professional or, if that doesn’t work out, get a very good American college degree and become bilingual as well. I hope to become a professional at the end of my studies. My dream to be Coined And why not, if Lionel Messi is gone football League To develop on these aspects with Blaise Matuidi (The French international who plays for Inter Miami in the MLS).
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