The Determination of BlackStar Kingsley Baiden

An exclusive look at Kingsley Baiden, better known as Fifi Baiden, and his journey to become an established MLS talent
by Austin Farrow   |   Friday, September 19, 2014

Major League Soccer (MLS) 2012 Season Preview

Born November 11, 1991, as Kingsley Baiden in Ajumako, Ghana, Fifi Baiden brings a fascinating backstory with him to current club Columbus Crew. With fascinating experience comes great knowledge and wisdom, which is far from lacking with this 22 year old.

If you wanted to learn more about the Columbus Crew rookie, here’s your chance. 

Ghana

At 10 years old, Fifi Baiden found himself in a Ghanaian soccer academy called the Right to Dream. This academy has molded many professional Ghanaian soccer players across Europe specifically, including one that played in the 2014 World Cup. Abdul Majeed Waris played Ghana’s final match of their World Cup after nearly missing the cup with an injury directly before Brazil. Point being, it’s a solid academy and Fifi has the right pedigree to be the player he wants to be, first and foremost.

“Growing up in Ghana was tough. I grew up in a poor household where food and education was scarce. Soccer was one of the gateways for poor children to create opportunities for themselves from that poor environment. I consider myself very blessed to be selected by the Right to Dream Academy around the age of ten,” Fifi explains.

Life in Ghana taught Fifi an immense amount about life and gave him the perspective that he has today.

“Throughout my years in the academy and in Ghana, I learned that nothing comes easy in life. I strongly believe in God and hard work as the (key to) success and that's what has guided me my whole life,” Fifi emphasized.

Knowledge of Self

Fifi went on to explain, “The most important part of my youth career is understanding my vision of where I want to go in life, and finding that balance between God and hard work.”

Fifi has a divine ambition deriving from his past and who he is.

To reiterate, Baiden says, “Like I said earlier, my childhood was tough, and it was through that poor background that urged me to do something for myself, for my family, for Ghana, and for the world in general. It is through all that experience that made me realize that hard work is the key to success, if I continue to believe in God. My experiences at the Right to Dream Academy, the Dunn School, and UC Santa Barbara are very rich experiences that have shaped who I am today, my work ethics, and the way I see the world.”

His name simply is Fifi Baiden. It epitomizes everything he’s about. When such words are used as an example to highlight anyone in any profession, you should be impressed, especially coming from a 22 year old. It’s an impressive amount of drive, so important to the game of football, and the game of life.

Outside of football, this perspective helps shine light on other aspects of life. Fifi recently joined Map International, a Christian organization that promotes global health, as a humanitarian ambassador. The Ebola outbreak in Ghana and other parts of the world and Africa is one reason Fifi joined the organization.

“The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is very disturbing and (has led) to the loss of many lives. I joined Map International in the cause to raise awareness and fight Ebola,” Fifi says.

Fifi reverts back to a similar theme as he further explains his reasoning for joining Map however, “As I pointed (to) earlier, it is important for me to give back to others in the same way I've been blessed. It is my vision to use soccer as a tool to inspire others, to educate, and to help underprivileged children achieve their dreams in life. Life is not just about one person, but about a whole community, a country and the world. I believe it is everyone's responsibility to do everything they can to play a part in making this world a better place for everyone.”

Major League Soccer (MLS) 2012 Season Preview

United States O’ America

The Right to Dream Academy is partner with a private California high school called the Dunn School. Said partnership created Fifi’s route to the United States. In 2007, he was awarded a scholarship to attend the school.

“I came to the US in the fall of 2007. I was around the age of fifteen, and I moved here alone to pursue my dream of attaining quality education and becoming a professional soccer player,” Fifi explained.

From there, Fifi went on to attend UC Santa Barbara and eventually was drafted into Major League Soccer in 2014. The 42nd overall pick in the 2014 MLS Superdraft, Fifi was ready to make an impact with the team that selected him, Columbus Crew.

Fifi went on to make one appearance for Columbus against Toronto on May 31st. He played seventeen minutes while Columbus lost 4-2. Over the next month or so, Fifi experienced issues with his groin, but more importantly his left hip flexor. Surgery on his left hip was scheduled for July 23rd and was successful.

Unfortunately, the injury suffered and surgery completed sidelined Fifi for the rest of the 2014 season. A full recovery for such an injury is six months, thus Fifi will be back for the 2015 season, when which he’ll have a lot to prove after missing a large portion of the 2014 season.

“Next season will be my redemption season from this year. I hope and pray to be injury free and continue to work hard. I want to be able to contribute immensely towards the team's success next season. I believe I will play a big role next year if everything goes well, and I can't wait to get to work.”

Fifi said that he should be back to jogging in “a few weeks”. Then he can begin to start the journey that will see him become the player he hopes to be. The man who likens his style of play to the likes of Dax McCarty and Michael Essien is living a dream but is ready to take it to the next level.

“I find myself very blessed to be a part of the Columbus Crew and to be a part of this competitive professional environment of highly talented soccer players. It is a dream come true, and to me this dream is just the beginning. It is my responsibility to work very hard to help my team in any way I can. I believe I will establish myself in MLS through my hard work and my humble persistence to learn and succeed,” Fifi concludes.

Sports legend Vince Lombardi once said about determination, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”

Why does that sound so familiar?

Well, one thing is for certain, self-knowledge and determination can take you to great lengths as it has with Vince Lombardi, Talib Kweli, and Mos Def. With Fifi applying such a perspective at 22, the future seems bright for Mr. Kingsley Baiden.

Austin FARROW

Nationality:
USA
College:
Indian River State
Club Domestic:
All MLS clubs
Club Foreign:
Manchester City
Bringing you news on soccer players across MLS and American players playing in top leagues around the world, Austin is a journalism major who enjoys the fine arts. He doesn't favor one club over another, but just enjoys all MLS play.
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