Giovanni Mills, 7, sets goal to be top footballer: 'Hard work beats talent'

Giovanni Mills does reaction exercises during training at Aranguez Savannah. - Photo by Angelo Marcelle
Giovanni Mills does reaction exercises during training at Aranguez Savannah. - Photo by Angelo Marcelle

GIOVANNI Mills can juggle a football 561 times without stopping.

He did so with ease, showing Newsday Kids his skills during a training session at the Aranguez Savannah.

Giovanni, who turned seven on Friday, is a football fanatic. He is a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal, but dreams of playing for English club Manchester City.

“(My favourite player is) Cristiano Ronaldo because he is a good player and he have some skills.”

Giovanni knows a lot about Ronaldo as he said, “He scores a lot of goals, (he plays for) Juventus and he was born in Portugal.”

He said he knows he will not get the opportunity to play with his favourite player because Ronaldo will be too old by the time he becomes a professional player. He also likes Brazilian Ronaldo, who was a skilful footballer – he won two FIFA World Cups with Brazil – before he stopped playing.

Giovanni Mills juggles a football during practice at Aranguez Savannah. - Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Giovanni, who is a striker on the football field, enjoys scoring goals saying he has already scored about five or six goals in one match.

“I have some skills – spanner, step over (and) all kind of skills,” he said as he practised alongside coach Ivor Cumberbatch. His father Junior Mills looked on, recording videos.

Giovanni can play for Trinidad and Tobago or the United States as he was born in the US.

Asked if he wants to play for TT, he said, “I will think about it. I was born in the US so I might play for them.”

Asked what his coach is teaching him, he said, “How to pass the ball firm, dribbling and shooting.”

A student of St Xavier's Private School in St Joseph, Giovanni knows that he must train hard if he wants to be a great footballer.

“Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.” The message on the jersey he wore – Can't Hold Me Back – pressed home his point.

Giovanni loves planes and his coach said he used to get distracted when a plane flew over the Aranguez Savannah during training. Cumberbatch allowed him to look at the planes because he wants to become a pilot.

Giovanni Mills dribbles a football to his coach Ivor Cumberbatch at Aranguez Savannah. - Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Giovanni also wants to attend the Ajax Youth Academy in Holland. It is one of the best football clinics for young footballers in the world. He used to train with Skhy Football Club in Trinidad before the covid19 pandemic.

Junior said his son loves football so much sometimes he will play with a football while brushing his teeth. He said he does not have to ask Giovanni to go to training.

“It is good encouragement too as a parent that it is not hard for me to tell him go and train. When it is 3.30 pm, 4 pm he says, ‘Daddy we have to go training.’”

After the covid19 pandemic, Junior is hoping his son can start playing again with other children and test his potential against them.

Cumberbatch has been coaching Giovanni for the past two years and said he is committed and always wants to attend practice. He said Giovanni is skilful and well-behaved.

Anyone can catch Giovanni's skills on the videos his father posts on Instagram at giovannimills9.


"Giovanni Mills, 7, sets goal to be top footballer: ‘Hard work beats talent’"

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