TALENTED football freestyler Chris Draper crossed the Atlantic to turn his American dream in to a reality.
The artistic 19-year-old, who shows no fear or apprehension, delved straight in to the depths of performing under pressure by showcasing his skills in the brightly-illuminated hub of Times Square, one of the world’s busiest pedestrian intersections, iconified as the ‘Crossroads of the World’ and ‘The Great White Way’.
Central Park was his next stop as he continued to amaze the flocking crowds with his impressive anthology of thrills, tricks and close control.
And then a trip to Miami beckoned, more specifically the 20,450-capacity Lockhart Stadium and home of Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
“It was really good, a great experience,” beamed Chris.
“I went and did some freestyling in New York at landmarks like Central Park and Times Square.
“I then did two events at the stadium of Fort Lauderdale Strikers which went really well.
“It was hard to find a bit of space in NY because it’s such a busy city.
“There’s plenty of people about and they stopped to have a look which was really nice.
“But I had more attention and more of a crowd at Fort Lauderdale because I was inside a stadium.”
The Strikers, formerly Miami FC, play in the North American Soccer League (NASL), the second tier of the American soccer pyramid.
Chris performed in the club’s traditional colours of red and gold hoops at half-time of games against Atlanta Silverbacks and state rivals Tampa Bay Rowdies in the ‘Florida derby’.
“They are in the league below the MLS so there was quite a big crowd for it,” he said.
“They were all very enthusiastic.
“I think the fans are a bit more vocal over there.
“They were really loud and there was plenty of screaming and shouting.
“I get a lot of cheers in the UK but there’s a lot of freestylers about so they’ve seen it before.
“But it’s not the norm over in America so they were a bit more enthusiastic about it I think.
“They were vociferous.”
Chris added: “It was one of the best experiences of my life.
“It’s something I will never forget. “I was told that I was more than welcome to go back as well.
“I might have to take them up on that offer.”