Words: ACFC Media
Thursday 28 January 2021
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - All Whites cap Kayne Vincent is eager to make an impact with Auckland City FC as he eyes up opportunities on and off the pitch.
The 32-year-old began his career with Three Kings United almost 23 years ago and now after an itinerant career that saw him take up a series of amazing life experiences at 15 clubs throughout South East Asia he wants to end his playing days on a high.
"You always want to finish your career where it began and I started my ISPS Handa Premiership career with Waitakere United - it all seems a very long time ago," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
"Auckland City FC has set a very high standard for itself over a long period of time and any player coming back from overseas will always look to see if there is a chance to become involved.
"Thankfully for me that's been the case with Jose Figueira and the club," he said.
Vincent's first major move was to the J.League with Cerezo Osaka FC where he lined up alongside Shinji Kagawa and Yoichiro Kakitani who Vincent says people were in awe of.
"Everywhere I went I tended to do well and I've made some good memories. I made a good early impression with Cerezo in Japan.
"I was very lucky that when I left New Zealand I had a Japanese passport at the time so that enabled me to part of their Asian quota.
"Their youth set-up was amazing and we had Shinji Kagawa and Yoichiro Kakitani who were both unbelievable players.
"Kagawa was a top player who lit up everything and eventually he went on to have a brilliant career with Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United and Real Zaragoza," he explained.
From Japan, Vincent tried his luck in India, then Thailand and Malaysia.
"Playing in India with Mumbai was surreal. We played in front of crowds of 60,000 - all men, no women. It was insane.
"Thailand and Malaysia were very similar experiences but Thailand was the place (that stood out). The balance between lifestyle and playing was excellent.
"As a foreign player in Thailand you get treated just that bit better than the locals. Thailand for me was a very good experience," he said.
Vincent's abilities and a run of goalscoring form earned him an international call-up from Anthony Hudson seven years ago.
"I enjoyed my only cap with New Zealand - I had just come off a good season with Songkhla United in Thailand.
"I had some good exposure because I had just signed with the biggest club in South East Asia at the time, Buriram United.
"I think that's what helped earn me a call-up from Anthony plus I had good geographic proximity to where the game was going to be played.
"Its every players dream to play for his country and I was never going to give that chance up if it came my way. I only won the one cap but I have no regrets - it is what it is.
"I won the one cap playing against Thailand in front of the Thai fans in a place where I earned my living so that for me was special," he said.
Auckland City FC coach Jose Figueira was delighted to secure the services of Vincent after a difficult season affected by the Covid-19 panedmic, league restructure and losing Myer Bevan and Clayton Lewis back in August.
"I've always had Kayne on my radar. He's played the bulk of his career overseas and he's someone I've always kept tabs on. Like many overseas players the pandemic has affected things profoundly for him and the football and personal life as well.
"At this stage of his career and where he's at now coming back to New Zealand and spending quality time with family was very important for him and it tied in very nicely to come into a high quality football environment.
"While he's probably a couple of weeks away from being up to speed he's quickly familiarised himself with his surroundings.
"Kayne will provide us with another option in the attacking line and provides extra competition for places keeping other people on their toes.
"I'm delighted to have Kayne with us - day by day he's looked sharper in training and looking forward to see what he can provide us for the rest of the season," he said of Vincent.
For Vincent, the future is, for now, with Auckland City FC and the remainder of the ISPS Handa Premiership title chase, but he's adamant to carve out a future in the sport when he hangs up his boots permanently.
"A lot of New Zealand youngsters with talent don't always get the opportunity they are looking for and eventually I want to use my contacts to help make that happen for them.
"My experiences in Asia and around the world can benefit New Zealand footballers who want to try something different in a new pathway and I'd like to help give that opportunity to them.
"Moving to Auckland City FC is good for me now as a player but also to refamiliarise myself with the New Zealand football community and how it works.
"A lot of players think that if they haven't made it by a certain age that their dream is over but that's not always true.
"Young footballers tend to think of professional football in a certain way and that's the elite end of the game or what you only see on television.
"But football is so much bigger than that - once I got my opportunity when I left New Zealand, I discovered a whole new pyramid of professional football and made a good career from it and enjoyed many wonderful experiences.
"The elite level is something to aim for but it is difficult to make it that far but if you work hard and compete you can make a professional career for yourself because there are opportunities out there."
Name: Kayne Vincent
Birthplace: Auckland, New Zealand
Previous clubs: Cerezo Osaka FC (JPN), Gainare Tottori (JPN), Waitakere United (NZL), Mumbai FC (IND), Churchill Brothers (IND), Prayag United (IND), FC Gifu (JPN), Songkhla United (THA), Buriram United (THA), Port (THA), Perlis FA (MYL), Air Force United (THA), Kasetsart (THA), MOF Customs United (THA), Bangkok (THA).
International caps: 1
International coals: 0
International debut: v Thailand (A) lost 0-2, 18 November, 2014
v Al Ahly, Tangier, Feb 1 2023, KO: 8pm local