PPromotional materials for the latest player to be added to Fifa 21 show Kiyan Prince scoring a goal. He takes a shot with his left foot, over the lunge of a desperate defender, and sees him fly towards the ceiling of the net. Fleeing in celebration with open arms, he cries out for joy. Then he turns around and shows the crowd his jersey: the number 30 for Queens Park Rangers.
Prince, who was once the most promising talent at the QPR academy, would have turned 30 this year, but in 2006 he died outside his school in North London. In a notorious incident, Prince was stabbed in the heart with a razor while trying to break up a fight. The killer, who called the knife a “little toy,” was 16 years old.
Now, 15 years later, Kiyan Prince’s life and legacy will be commemorated with his addition to the hit EA Sports video game. It will also have its own playing card in the Match Attax game. He will also receive his own squad number for QPR, that 30, a move that follows the club’s fans’ decision two years ago to change the name of their stadium to the foundation named after Prince, a charity dedicated to persuade outcast youth to stay away from knives.
“He was way above everyone else,” says Michael Harriman of his friend. The couple were in the same year at school and both came to the QPR academy. Now Harriman is a professional and plays for Northampton Town. “People like me envy those types of players because I work so hard for what I do, and he made the game look so easy. The way it was built; He was fast, he was athletic, he was strong. He could use his right foot, his left foot, he could use his head. He had all the attributes that you look at today and think: that’s what you need to be a professional footballer ”.
Prince was a popular boy, with stories of disinterested behavior common among his contemporaries at the London Academy. “He was so loving,” says Harriman. “It was fantastic, you know, and it hurt a lot of people when the event happened. With her contagious personality, she was always going to be difficult for a lot of people and to this day she still is. Not a day goes by that people don’t remember it, I know I certainly do. I am trying to continue his legacy on the football field, which I hope I have done and I hope he is proud. “
Home Office statistics show that, since April 2009, 205 children aged 17 and under have been killed by a sharp object attack in England and Wales. The numbers have peaked in the past two years, with 22 children dying in both 2019 and 2020. London accounts for a disproportionate number of knife crimes, with 152 per 100,000 inhabitants in the year ending September 2020, in compared to 79 per 100,000 elsewhere.
Since the death of his son, Dr. Mark Prince has dedicated his life to trying to change those numbers in a different direction. A former professional boxer, he is the executive director of the Kiyan Prince Foundation, which attempts to reach young people at risk through motivational speech and life coaching and uses boxing as a tool for self-development. Prince sees the FIFA game as a way to engage people who would otherwise be hard to reach.
“Whatever young people are doing, most of them will have a console and play games,” says Prince. “The numbers they play include the guys who are on the streets who probably wouldn’t go to social services, who probably wouldn’t go to a course.”
Fifa 21 players can adopt Kiyan in ‘career mode’ making him their avatar as they progress through the game. In Ultimate Team mode, players can redeem prizes, such as a custom QPR shirt, that are labeled with the Foundation’s logo and linked to their services.
“Now here’s a platform in the game where you can access the support you need,” says Prince. “Why? Because you are inspired by this young man who plays soccer and who is not here. That will intrigue all individuals. He is not alive, why is this guy so special? Why is he in the game? drawn to find out why. And when you find out he was stabbed and you know you carry a knife and you meet other people who carry knives, there is an opportunity. It’s an opportunity where you might be thinking, ‘I have no purpose, I would love to have confidence, what is my potential? ‘ All of these questions come to the mind of each individual. “
Dr. Prince, who was awarded the OBE in 2019 for his work with youth, does not like to talk about “knife crime” and prefers to focus on giving struggling youth the tools to succeed. “Their environment, the poverty, the opportunities they have, the culture, the abuse, their antecedents, all of that pales to the insignificance of the power they have to move forward,” he says. He also regrets the way in which these same young people are discharged, without society in general making an effort to understand and help them.
“When we think of success, a lot of people only think of finances, but we are trying to teach people that success is about how you think,” says Prince. “This is the message that Kiyan sends. They begin to understand from Kiyan’s life that it was his character that allowed him to have the name he has and become the legend that he is. “
Prince admits that his son’s death has never been less painful, but says the inspiration that comes from Kiyan’s life is what keeps him going. “Even when he dies, he cannot be forgotten,” he says, “because he lived for something and cared about people. He is a living example for all young people, he is the role model ”.
You can support the Kiyan Prince Foundation by texting KPF (then the amount) to 70490. For more information: visit thekpf.com
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism