By Georgina Barnes
Since joining the Jersey Bulls, Jake Prince has been making his mark on the field. A Liverpool fan with an abundance of drive and passion for football, ‘Keeno’ has been winning over the crowds and his team with his skills.
Georgina Barnes sat down with the striker and talked about how he got into football, who inspired him the most and how it was going with the Bulls.
Tell me about your football career – where did it begin and how’s it going?
It started when I was proper young, and I used to always play at primary school. My first proper club was St Clements, we had a really good squad there, won the treble and got to go to Southampton and win tournaments back there, we had a really strong squad. It was just a lot going on at the time and I’ve always been so involved in it. Then I moved on to St Peters, we had a good squad there for under 18s, won the treble there too, after that I went to more senior football, which was really good. My most enjoyable time in terms of a club was definitely St Ouen’s because they were so nice and
supportive, the lads were great. I really enjoyed my football there purely because of how much we worked well together. With that push to keep playing from my managers I moved onto the Bulls and that’s where it all started going through the roof! I’ve always loved my football and had a lot of drive to do well.
Do you have any funny stories or nicknames you’ve been given?
My nickname is Princey but when I joined St Ouen’s everyone started calling me Keeno, because I was always up for every game and every training session! That was funny, now I play for the bulls though I have my own chant which is amazing and I never thought it would come to that point.
I scored the winner for St Ouen’s against St Paul’s in a 4-3 game, and it was like the 91st minute and I remember as soon as I scored and my manager had just ran about 50 metres and picked me up and we all just started going crazy. Seeing him run that far was one of my favourite moments!
What’s it like travelling to play football?
It’s good, I love travelling with the lads, it makes you feel professional in a way because you’re flying over to England to play against teams you’ve never heard of, whereas here playing local teams you know the people you’re playing against, you give them a lot of respect here. It’s a lot of time and effort going over there and having to take time off work, at the moment we’ve been flying over on a Tuesday and back on the Wednesday red eye and straight to work, but I love it I wouldn’t change it for the world, hopefully we can keep up the good work and keep going away for these games. It’s great with the boys, you build up a good connection with them because you’re stuck with them all day and it really helps bring the team together.
Do ever feel the pressure of playing as a striker?
I don’t really get nervous before the games but you definitely feel some pressure. Since I’ve been playing for so long I just don’t feel nervous per say, I feel overly excited sometimes. Obviously there is pressure being a striker ,you need to be the one that scores the goals but I like that responsibility because it helps me work harder and better and improving everyday to help the team.
The FA Cup! Tell me all about it
It was such a good experience, so surreal. I just couldn’t believe how many eyes we had on us. I had kids coming up to me asking if I was Jake Prince, it’s crazy! We were playing on BBC Sport which is just crazy, and a really good experience to have. To be able to say that I’ve scored in an FA Cup, something the boys and I have been watching since we were younger, and now I’m playing in it. I never thought we’d have the opportunity to play in such a high league and do as well as we did so yeah it was great effort from the boys but gutting we got kicked out. We are just performing better and better each game but it’s a learning curve and we can take that on board.
Who inspires you the most?
I’ve had a lot of support growing up, a lot of managers who have helped and pushed me further but my mum and dad really pushed me to do sports, they’d take me to all my football training, my Dad has never missed a match that I can remember, even my school games. Always having them there has reminded me to work hard and so have my brother and grandparents too. I think especially my grandparents, it makes them so proud to watch me play football and how they feel about it inspires me to keep going. Obviously professional football too has inspired me, watching Gerrard and Messi are two great players, but mainly my family because of how proud it makes them keeps me going.
What does the future hold for you Keeno?
I really don’t know at this point in time, I didn’t think this year would go as quickly as it has. I’ve played around 10 games for the Bull’s now and I’m signing autographs, getting pictures with kids and I’ve a chant about me now. You just never know where it could take you, but I mean I’m more driven now than ever. I want to keep working hard and hopefully cement my place in that team but you never know where its going to go, you’ve got scouts looking at the team, you just never know who wants to take you on. My main priority at the moment is to keep focused on the ball, keep fit and see what happens from there. I want to get promoted this season and see how far we can take it after that, but I’m fully involved now so you never know what could happen.