How it all kicked off...
Kick began life as a piece of rubbish in a shoebox back in 2013. I was working as a sales assistant in a sport shop when I found a crumpled energy gel sachet – covered in Asiatic branding – nestled between a pair of brand-new football boots. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I had just witnessed the birth of a superstar footballer named Kieran Wakefield, a tyrannical landlord known as the Dragon, and Budi, a little boy from Jakarta with big dreams.
That discovery in a narrow, dimly lit stockroom prompted me to question where and how these products are made, and by whom. The answers, I came to learn, are to be found in the sweatshops of Asia: thousands of anonymous factories that churn out goods for glossy, international brands. While I was researching fast fashion and the global textile industry, the most lucrative football transfer of all time was being negotiated. I calculated how long it would take the footballer in question to earn a sweatshop worker’s monthly wage. The answer: 100 seconds. I began to wonder when the beautiful game had grown so ugly.
But within this bleak reality I could sense a story that needed to be told, a story of family and friendship and football. As much as I hope Kick will shed light on a desperate global issue, I feel it must also remain a testament to the transcendent, unifying power of sport. Now more than ever, I believe we need characters like Budi who are filled with goodness and dreams and the desire for a better world. Characters who are incorruptible despite the precedents. Despite everything.