Kitto’s rise a fillip for local youngsters

From McLaren Districts to the Hyundai A-League, an aspiring young footballer has made a quick fire rise to the big time. So just who is Ryan Kitto?

From school football in the McLaren Districts to the Hyundai A-League, an aspiring young footballer has made a quick fire rise to the big time. So just who is Ryan Kitto?

Ryan Kitto was as surprised as anyone when he was not only picked on the Reds- bench to face the Central Coast Mariners, but made his Hyundai A-League debut from almost obscurity.

On the announcement of the teams prior to Saturday-s game at Bluetongue Stadium, the Reds- social media channels were abuzz of just who this Kitto who was taking up a spot on the bench.

As a kid who grew up in McLaren Vale, one of Adelaide-s famous wine regions, Kitto can remember first kicking a ball at school in the McLaren Districts at the age of five. From there he began playing at Seaford and then Cumberland United before spending two years in the SASI program. Along the way he also featured in a number of South Australian rep sides.

Now residing in Christies Beach, the 19 year old was spotted while playing for Birkalla in the local Premier League and was invited to trial for the Reds- Youth Team. Having completed his first full season of senior football with Birkalla this year, it-s a fair assumption that not even he could have believed he would be representing his State team in the Hyundai A-League, at least not this soon.

“I-ve just been lucky enough to get a chance,” Kitto said.

“Obviously there were a few injuries around the place and I-ve been training hard, learning off all of the experienced players and when I-ve been given a go, given it everything I-ve got.”

An attacking midfielder who can play on the wing or as a number 10, Kitto has impressed United-s coaching staff at training, so much so that Head Coach Josep Gombau had no hesitation including him in the squad to face last season-s champions.

When asked if he thought he had an inkling he would be picked, Kitto-s reply was, “not at all. It was a shock when they announced on Thursday that I-d be travelling.”

“When Josep read my name out I thought, did he say my name?”

“Years of hard work and I just felt grateful for the opportunity. It-s what I want to do - play professional football, so with a chance like that you-ve got to try and take it.”

Kitto replaced Fabio Ferreira in the 78th minute and certainly did not look out of place.

“Obviously the last few weeks Ferreira hadn-t been playing a full 90 minutes so there was a chance I might play,” Kitto recalls of thinking whether he would get a run.

“Josep just said at the 60 minute mark to go and warm up, and with about 10 minutes to go Pau (Marti) came down and said do four sprints, you-re going on.”

“All of the boys were good to me and helped me out a lot. Being in that professional environment is a bit of a change from the local league but I loved it.”

Having had a taste of it, Kitto is eager for more but knows he just needs to keep putting in the effort on training and performing for the Reds- Youth Team until the next opportunity arises.

“It-s what I want to do so I-ll be doing what I can, but we-ll see what happens. Obviously you-ve got to bide your time and if you get another chance take it.”