Forbes savouring South American adventure

  • Forbes has been Trinidad and Tobago’s No1 since 2006
  • She won the 2016 Copa Libertadores Femenina with Paraguay’s Sportivo Limpeno
  • The goalkeeper is currently impressing in the newly launched professional league in Colombia

Kimika Forbes was playing lower-league football in the United States when, in October 2016, she was approached by Paraguayan outfit Sportivo Limpeno about representing them in the Copa Libertadores Femenina that December.

The goalkeeper, who has been Trinidad and Tobago’s No1 since 2006, did not need much convincing. Despite not speaking Spanish, she jumped at the chance to sign her first proper professional contract at the age of 26, deciding to take the plunge and try her luck in South America.

Her arrival generated plenty of buzz. “They’d watched a video of my best-ever performance, against USA in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship. We lost 1-0 that day, but I made some great saves,” Forbes told, before adding with a chuckle, “When I got there, they probably wondered if I was the same person!”

She slowly but surely overcame the language barrier: “First I learnt the word for ‘goalkeeper’. Then ‘right’, ‘left’ and ‘push out’. It was all about being able to communicate with my defenders.”

The 6’0 (1.83m) shot-stopper more than lived up to expectations, starring in Limpeno’s run to Libertadores glory and becoming the first Caribbean native to win the competition in the process. “It was an unforgettable experience. I was surprised by how much attention that victory got. I’d never seen anything like it before.”

On the back of those exploits, Bogota-based club Independiente Santa Fe came calling, offering her a one-year contract and the prospect of featuring in the inaugural edition of the Colombian Professional Women’s Football League. Again, she did not think twice and duly seized the opportunity.

“I settled in quickly, both at the club and in the country. It’s of a higher standard and more competitive than I’d expected. We’re doing really well in terms of results and I’m also enjoying sharing a dressing room with players from the likes of Venezuela and Costa Rica, besides the Colombians. It’s culturally enriching.”

The keeper has relished refining her technique in Paraguay and Colombia, having found that “the emphasis was on the physical side” in the United States. As a consequence, she considers herself a “more complete keeper” now, although she believes she still has room for improvement.

Early steps
Forbes got her first taste of the beautiful game during her childhood in the humble Tobagonian town of Plymouth – when she was eight years old, to be precise: “My cousins spent all day playing football. I was curious, so I gave it a go and I loved it. So much so that now I eat, sleep and breathe football. It’s the only thing I watch on TV.”

She and her sister Karen, who…

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