CONCACAF Q&A: Matthew Hall (Cray Wanderers and Antigua & Barbuda U20)

Matthew Hall (yellow jersey #5 ) in action for Antigua & Barbuda against Canada in a 2017 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship on February 23, 2017, in Tibas, San Jose, Costa Rica. (Photo: Straffon Images)

Matthew Hall is a promising young footballer for Antigua & Barbuda. The English-born fullback was crucial defensively in helping the Benna Boys qualify for the 2017 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship, at which he started in all three games this month. Now, the 18-year-old has his eyes set on a senior team call-up. Hall took some time to speak to about these and other future endeavours.

How old were you when you first started to play football?
I first started playing football when I was five-years-old. My dad taught me how to play and my mum always supported me.

Growing up who was your footballing hero?
Growing up, my footballing hero wasn't Lionel Messi, or Cristiano Ronaldo. My footballing hero was Brede Hangeland, which is why I choose the #5 for any team I play for.

Which is your favourite club team?
The club I support is Fulham Football Club. This is because my grandfather brainwashed me (laughs) and Brede Hangeland was the captain of the club.

You were born in England, but you represent Antigua & Barbuda at the under-20 level. Explain how that worked out.
I was born in England, yes, but I lived in Antigua for 17 years and qualified for residency and Antiguan passport, so that is how I am eligible to play for them. My sister is my only family member that was born there. My parents still live in Antigua today, so I consider myself Antiguan.

You represented Antigua & Barbuda in the 2017 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship in Costa Rica. What positives to do you take from that tournament?
It was the first time in a long time that Antigua has played in any major tournament. Despite not being able to advance from the group stages of the tournament, I must say it was a rewarding experience. We gave the best in CONCACAF a run for their money and it is an experience that I will never forget. Mexico, Honduras and Canada are all teams with such huge pedigree in the region and we never embarrassed ourselves. We leave Costa Rica wish our head held high and with our eyes set on future goals.

What are your goals as a professional footballer?
As a professional footballer, I would like to play at a high standard in England, making myself and my family proud. I would also like to make my Benna Boys senior debut if given the opportunity.

What advice do you have for youngsters who want to play football professionally?
Youngsters who want to play professionally must be able to put in time and hard work to raise their standard of play. They must eat, sleep; and live football if they want to become a professional footballer.

What do you do for fun outside football?
Outside of football, I like to play other sports such as golf. I also like to unwind and relax with friends or with my girlfriend.