By Tshilidzi Mutavhatsindi
South African youngster Joshua Vermooten, who played for Leeds United’s reserve side in England, is considering putting international football on hold in order to attend varsity. The 20-year-old central defender moved to England with his family, at the age of 11, in September 1999. “I had been playing soccer since I was six, so I immediately got involved with the school soccer team there,” Vermooten said. Vermooten’s dream was realised after he was spotted by a Leeds United scout in 2002. He went on to join the academy after a six-week trial. He worked his way up from youth teams and, at the age of 16, was offered a three-year contract to play for the Leeds United reserve side. Vermooten decided to return to South Africa after his contract expired. “The biggest thing is to enjoy playing the game and watch the very best players in your position and learn from them. Luckily I was at Leeds with Lucas Radebe, who was always my hero; I would always watch him and try learn as much as I could,” he added. Vermooten was a star player for Leeds’ reserve side, to the extent that some fans likened his playing style and capabilities to those of Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand.
The Cape Town-born soccer player told Activate that he plans to go to varsity. “I want to study sports science or anything related to it, preferably at UCT, Rhodes or Stellenbosch. I don’t see this as the end of my football career though, I would love to play for the university team regularly. From there, who knows what might happen? I’m 20, so the doors are definitely not shut,” said Vermooten.