sports gazette

Fil Kamps Interview Part One: Hard work beats talent

Fil Kamps in a game for Fulham.
Published: 14 Jun 2016

He plays football and futsal for club and country, is the University football captain and studied much of his sports science degree on trains. Meet GB Deaf’s World Cup debutant Fil Kamps.

The centre back has had a great season with his club Fulham, by finishing second in the league and winning both the British and English Deaf Cup.

The 22-year-old’s performances earned him Player’s Player of the Year in Fulham, and most importantly: A selection to Great Britain’s deaf football squad in the World Cup, which starts in Italy on 19th June.

However, Fil Kamps is not like every other debutant. He is going to the Deaf World Cup in Italy with only one intention: To win.

“I want to win it. I genuinely want to win it. I would not go there otherwise. GB came third in the European Championships last year and lost the semi-final in extra time, so I want to go out there and win it. 100 per cent,” Fil said.

How fast the tables can turn. Last season looked promising, but Kamps and his Fulham lost the British Deaf Cup final, the quarterfinal of the English Deaf Cup and the semi-final in the Champions League.

Furthermore, the ambitious player narrowly lost out for the Euro’s selection after struggling with shin splints during the last part of the season.

Close, but no cigar.

“In the Champions League semi-final we missed chance after chance and lost on penalties. It was heart breaking and difficult to take. But it was probably my best experience as well, I learned a lot from that.

“I think my performances were definitely affected towards the end of last year from the shin splints. When I was waking up in the morning and just walking down the hall to get some breakfast it was really painful.”

Burned out mentally and physically
A summer of rest was perhaps exactly what Fil needed last year. Some weeks he played 4-5 games, which was very difficult for his body to mend.

Rest is one of the main ways to recover from shin splints, and Fil admits his busy match schedule had been too hard for him.

“I was burned out sort of mentally and physically from the number of fixtures I have had to cope with.

“In a way it was a blessing in disguise that I didn’t go to the Euro’s last year. It gave me the whole summer off, and I’ve come back this year and had my best season ever.”

Kamps took lessons from his injuries and established regular recovery sessions with aqua running and stretches after games.

“It’s just the case of maintaining recovery work and making sure after a game you are not going home and chilling out you’re doing your recovery work. You can’t take any shortcuts.”

I want to win it. I genuinely want to win it. I would not go there otherwise.

Hard work beats talent
On top of all his games; Fil has just finished his sports science degree at Middlesex University in London.

“It can be difficult, but I think it is just a case of utilizing my time to its potential.

“I have an hour and a half to trainings and the same back. So rather than just sit on the train and switch off I got my laptop and papers with me and trying to get my work done.

“I have never really thought this is too much or I need to stop something. It is more about how I can manage what I’m doing.”

One of the answers to his successful career may lie in his ability to prioritise what is most important to him. Fil has played football since he was five years old, but he never thought he was especially talented.

However, unlike many other teenagers who drop out of sport around the age of 16, Fil was never tempted by night-outs or partying. He just wanted to play football.

Because as he asks me: Why would you stop doing something you enjoy?

“A lot of good players I have played with growing up went down that sort of route. And that didn’t interest me too much.

“We were all good, but I sort of left them behind in the fact that they sent their priorities elsewhere and I continued to train hard.

“You can have as much talent as you like but hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard.

“It is a choice you have to make, but I don’t regret it all.”

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