The Football Manager games are renowned for their terrifying depth of scouting, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard of one of the scouts responsible going beyond “watching someone play” and move into the realms of “directly changing their life”.
But that’s what happened when researcher Jack Thorpe, watching the Barnet reserves play a few years back and looking up information on their goalkeeper, found that Kai McKenzie-Lyle—despite being born in London—had Guyanese heritage.
So he decided to make some phone calls to the Guyanese pointing this out, and before long a promising young talent was off to the 2017 Caribbean Cup qualifiers to save penalties and even score last-minute headers.
He’s had quite a ride since then; since making his Guyana debut, McKenzie-Lyle has been signed by Liverpool, and while he’s there as a youth prospect that’s still a hell of a step up from Barnet reserves.
Kai and Jack’s story is told in the latest video from People Make Games’ Chris Bratt, and it is absolutely wonderful.