Hayes leaves Truro and moves to Asia
Striker Kieran Hayes has left Truro City to embark on an exciting new chapter in his career by signing for reigning Philippines Football League champions United City.
Hayes has revealed his debt of gratitude to Truro and their boss Paul Wotton for agreeing to release the 22-year-old from the remainder of his contract.
The former Nottingham Forest man, who initially joined Truro on loan from the Championship strugglers last season, made his move to Cornwall permanent before the 2020-21 began.
However, Truro fans never got to see the best of him due to the covid-19 pandemic which caused yet another season to be curtailed. In an exclusive interview with the Voice, Hayes, whose mother is from the Philippines, started by explaining how his amicable Truro departure materialised.
“The idea to move first came about around three years ago,” he said. “The national team got in touch with me through a lad called Luke Woodland who I followed on Twitter. He came through the ranks at Bolton and then played a bit for Oldham and went over to the Philippines when he was quite young – at a similar age to myself.
“He basically got in touch with me and asked me what my heritage was.
“I got back to him almost straight away and said that my mum was from the Philippines and he said he was with the national coach – a guy called Scott Cooper. They were going through a scouting drive in terms of planning for the future.
“There was then a training camp in Bangkok which was filled with players like myself, who had the opportunity to play for the Philippines through their parents or grandparents.
“It was a bit of an experiment and I kept in touch with everyone and a parent of a lad I knew from my under-23s days was doing some recruitment work recently for the team I eventually signed for.
“I was then recommended to United City and they got in touch to see if I was available. Obviously I was still contracted to Truro at the time and the initial contact was about five or six weeks ago. I spoke to the guys at Truro and Paul Wotton the manager. I just said that I had this opportunity and would they let me go, that sort of thing.
“They were class with it all in terms of sorting everything out and I went with their blessing. Football clubs can make things difficult when you have signed a contract but Truro didn’t.
“On a personal level they made things very easy and I am very grateful for that.
“I appreciated the opportunity and the platform that Truro gave me. It would have worked out better for all parties if this year had gone a lot better in terms of the number of games played. The virus has affected things massively – not only in our industry, but around the world.”
Hayes added that the chance to play in the Asian Champions League was too good to turn down, whilst hoping to follow a similar path to players such as Phil Younghusband and Chad Gould who were raised in England, but played in the Philippines due to their heritage.
“I look on and saw a player like Phil Younghusband who got the ball rolling with this type of thing and then players like Chad (Gould) and Neil Etheridge were born in England and went across or had some kind of exposure to Philippine football or the Philippine national team,” he added. Once I heard that the chance to play for the best team in the Philippine’s and the Asian Champions League had come about, at this point in my career, I couldn’t turn that down.
“The experiences to be gained from that and the exposure will be great and my mum is really excited too. She has been asking me for the last five or six weeks as to when she could tell my family in the Philippines that I was coming. I told her she just had to wait as everything took time to sort out but now it is and she can’t wait to come out and see me.
“I have been told that I will be going out at the end of April. Initially, the Champions League group stages had been scheduled for the end of April, but they have been pushed back to June now.
“The club are looking to fly me out to start pre-season training around the start of May.”