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Ken Charles (footballer)
|Full name||Ken Darren Charles|
|Date of birth||5 August 2000|
|Place of birth||Lewisham, London, England|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 11:15, 3 February 2019 (UTC)|
Ken Darren Charles (born 5 August 2000) is an English footballer who plays as a forward for League Two club Colchester United. After a brief stint playing non-League football for Cray Wanderers and Erith Town, as well as playing for the Maidstone United U18 team, Charles signed his first professional contract at Colchester in August 2018 after a successful 6-week trial during pre-season.
Born in Lewisham, Charles joined the Southend United F.C. Academy in late 2008, aged 8. After spending 3 seasons at the club, Charles and his family decided to leave the club due to a lack of progression. Trials followed at both Fulham and Arsenal's youth academies, who were both keen to sign him. However, Southend were keen to keep hold of him and would only let him go if a sufficient amount of compensation was paid. Neither Fulham nor Arsenal managed to come up with a mutual agreement with Southend and as such, both clubs withdrew their interests.
In October 2013, Charles and his family moved to the Danish capital, Copenhagen. There, Charles spent a few months with FC Copenhagen’s U14 squad. Charles came back to the UK at the end of that season and immediately started to look for another club. After lengthy trials at both Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace, Charles was unsuccessful in being awarded a scholarship. Since he was also academically intelligent, he and his family decided to focus on his education and put football aside. As such, instead of pursuing a scholarship, Charles focused on his GCSEs, in which he obtained 7A*s and 4As, and went on to study at one of the UK’s best ranked schools, King’s College London Mathematics School, where he studied A levels in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, and Physics.
In the meantime, Charles continued to play football as a hobby; at first he joined Barking F.C.’s U18 team, and after gaining recognition for being the league's top scorer, he went on to spend the remainder of the 2016/17 season with Bromley F.C.’s U18s. At the start of the 2017/18 season, Charles looked to play senior football to boost his chances of getting picked up by a professional club. He spent the entire pre-season with the Cray Wanderers F.C. first team, and after spending the first 5 games of the season on the bench, was loaned out to Erith Town F.C. in order to get game time. Charles spent the rest of the season at Erith making over 20 appearances and scoring 3 times. At the same time, Charles played an influential role in driving Maidstone United's U18s into a league and cup double, including 2 goals in the Kent Invitational Cup Final.
By the end of the season, Charles’ performances had attracted the attention of many scouts, and eventually, after a tense 6-week trial with Colchester at the start of the 2018/19 season, he signed his first professional contract with the club on the 31st August 2018.
Charles is currently a member of the U23s squad at Colchester and is yet to make a first team appearance.
Charles operates mainly as a forward, and is comfortable playing both as a central striker or out wide on either flank, where he can use his pace and technical skill to beat defenders 1v1. Charles’ biggest threat as a forward is turning defences and using his speed and sharpness to run in behind the opposition’s defence. He is good at taking defenders on 1v1 and is known for using “step overs” to unbalance his opponents. He also has a great eye for goal, and is known to finish well off either his right or left foot, despite being naturally right footed.
As well as being a talented footballer, Charles is also a talented mathematician. In year 10, Charles achieved a Bronze award in the UKMT Intermediate Challenge, followed by a Silver Award in the subsequent year. In year 13, Charles also managed to achieve a silver award in the Senior Mathematics Challenge.
In year 13, Charles had intended to go to University at the end of the year to read Physics. He achieved offers from the University of Warwick, the University of Manchester, UCL, and King's College London, and in his application to the University of Oxford, he managed to get all the way to the interview stage. Charles rejected these offers to pursue his dream of becoming a professional footballer.
Charles is currently doing an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Physics at the Open University.
Charles is also a big fan of politics, and is a member of the Labour Party
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