It's a bit of a slow news day today, so I thought this would be a good time to take a slightly deeper look at some of the more exciting players we have at the academy level. One who particularly catches my eye is 15 year old Alex Kiwomya. Kiwomya signed on with the club last March as a 14 year old and was immediately slotted into the Chelsea U18 team. He made 2 appearances for the youth team last spring, twice coming on as a second half substitute. He made his 2011/2012 season debut this past weekend coming on at halftime against Birmingham in a very big way, scoring a second half hat-trick to help bring the club from behind in their 6-2 win.
Alex is the son of former professional player Andy Kiwomya and the nephew of former Arsenal and QPR player Chris Kiwomya. With this in mind, it's no surprise that he's very technically sound for a player so young. His father did not push soccer on to him though, he instead allowed young Alex to try several sports at a young age and see how he developed. This approach probably helped Alex gain some attention from the soccer world, as he excelled from an early age at two sports and certainly gained more international notoriety off the soccer pitch than he did on it.
Alex made a pretty good name for himself at a young age in the sport of Track and Field. At the age of thirteen he was the number 1 ranked U15 sprinter in Great Britain in every discipline 400 meters and below. The following year (at the age of 14) he repeated that feat, setting numerous British records in the process. He was actually ranked in the top 40 in all of Great Britain as a 14 year old in the 200 meter dash. Judging from that, I think it's safe to say that Alex is fast. Fast may actually be a bit of an understatement though, as at 15 Kiwomya would probably be in the discussion for the fastest player in the Premier League already.
Alex is also not that small. It's hard to judge size on a 15 year old, but he's currently a little larger than the average player on the Chelsea youth squad. His father stands about 5'10" tall, so an educated guess based on his current height would lead me to believe he'll be about the same when he finishes growing.
We've been employing Kiwomya as both a striker and a winger to this point. Alex is a right footed player, and he was lined up slightly tucked in on the right hand side for much of the Birmingham match this weekend. He's obviously going to be a major threat to teams employing a high line, but he seemed to do alright against a more conservative Birmingham approach. While his eventual position is still unknown, with the kind of speed Kiwomya has I'd be surprised if he didn't stick as a striker or a wing.
This kid is probably still several years away from even being discussed as an option to suit up for a Carling Cup tie, but the fact that he's already got elite speed and is fairly technically refined certainly makes him an interesting prospect to keep an eye on. He's certainly a name worth knowing though, as players with that type of physical gifts just don't come along very often. I'm sure we'll continue to hear plenty from Kiwomya as the season progresses, as he'll likely be a major piece when we attempt to regain the FA Youth Cup this spring.