I caught up with Turks & Caicos Islands captain and NASL star Billy Forbes who talks us through his career with club and country so far…
Background: Thank you to NASL Press Officer, Steven Torres, and Rayo OKC PR Director, Willy Whiteside, for their assistance with arranging and conducting this interview. I would of course like to thank Billy, too, for taking time out of his busy schedule to provide some insight into his experiences with club and country.
So, first and foremost, how and when did your journey in football begin, Billy?
“My journey began probably as a 6-year-old I would say. My favourite sport was track and field before I fully invested in soccer but I started going [in football] pretty young.”
What was it like growing up playing football as a kid in the Turks & Caicos Islands? Did you have good access to facilities and resources?
“I don’t know if there was access to good facilities growing up because it was more playing in the street. Just getting a group of kids together and playing on the street.”
How did the opportunity to join an American side come about?
“When I was 16 I played for the senior national team and after that when I turned 18, I got a full scholarship to come to the US and play.”
What would you say has been your career highlight to date? I’m guessing that scoring the game-winning goal in the 2014 Soccer Bowl ranks up there…
“I actually have three career highlights to date. My first one would be playing for the national team as a 16-year-old when we beat St Lucia 2-1 at home for the first time. My second one would be scoring for my national team. The number one would be scoring the goal in 2014 to win the championship [Soccer Bowl].”
How’re you finding life at Rayo OKC having spent around half a year there now?
“It’s pretty good. I’m still getting used to the town and the people and the team. But I’m enjoying it so far.”
You’re one of very few players playing overseas in the Turks & Caicos Islands national team. From your own experiences, what needs to happen to increase the amount of Turks & Caicos Islanders securing contracts with foreign clubs?
“I think it’ll come down to more of the overseas coaches giving us an opportunity to play. If they give us an opportunity then I think I’m living proof that we can make it happen.”
What does the Turks & Caicos Islands need to do in order to move up another level within CONCACAF? It’s clearly a small island in terms of population but size isn’t everything, after all…
“We’re growing as a country. It’s going to take a bit of time but maybe more investment in our programmes – not only the kids but the senior national team as well.”
What would you say your biggest strengths are as a player? And have you got any advice for youngsters wanting to play in your position?
“My only advice is to practice your craft and dedicate yourself day in and day out.”
Tell us something quirky about yourself that not many people would necessarily know…
“I’m a great chef! I can cook good and I like to fish a lot.”
What are your ultimate career goals and aspirations? What would you like to achieve in your career with both club and country?
“My goal would have to be to play overseas or in MLS. And maybe win something with my country one day.”
By Nathan Carr
Thank you for reading! Feel free to leave any constructive feedback in the comments box below. Big up to Steven, Willy and Billy for agreeing to do this interview. Meanwhile, you can get in touch with me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.