In Yorkshire there is a young South African striker making his way through the ranks of English side Leeds United’s youth ranks.
Max McMilan is the son of Yorkshire United legend Andy McMillan, who is a son of former Pretoria Callies coach Trevor McMilan and the lanky striker took time out to catch up with FARPost about his journey so far in football as he grows in Leeds.
Born in October 2002, the 17-year-old is going through the ranks at Leeds United currently playing for their U18 and U23 sides scoring 9 goals so far in a season that has been dominated by injuries.
“The journey began when I was very young just playing football all day with my brothers in the back garden. My parents saw some potential in me then took me to join my brother’s local team because I was too young to even have an age group so I was about 5 years old playing against 8/9 year olds. Eventually my own age group made a team and we played a tournament and in that tournament Leeds asked me to go train with them.”
“The funny part though is that when I first went to Leeds they actually said no they don’t want me to sign so I then went back and trained with their shadow squad for a session and they put me straight back into the academy and signed me within a week of telling me no I wasn’t good enough and ever since I’ve played for them.”
McMilan shared how he admired Wayne Rooney when the latter was on top form for Manchester United.
“Growing up I always loved to watch Wayne Rooney and I still do today even though he is at his prime in football and recently playing at Old Trafford against Manchester United’s U18s was a special moment for me I must say because that’s where he played and he was different class as a striker.”
McMilan explained how his dad played a big role in helping him grow as a young footballer from an early age.
“At the beginning I just used to love playing with my brothers in the garden all day and I just learnt very quickly because my dad was always there to help me learn new things because he’s been in the game all his life which helped me to be where I am today.”
McMilan was born in England but qualifies to play for South Africa through his father who was born in Bloemfontein and the striker has since expressed his connection to South Africa.
“For years now I’ve been wanting to play for the national team I’m actually coming over in the off season to sort out my passports and get my things sorted out as I am buzzing to one day represent South Africa in the national team, it’s a dream of mine and my dad’s too.”
By Prince Sobayeni