Unless you are completely obsessive like me, you probably didn’t wake up at 6 a.m. Sunday to catch the soccer game between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur. By missing this game, you missed the latest installment of the Harry Kane saga, Tottenham’s cult hero who can’t be stopped.
Kane is a 21-year-old soccer phenom from London who grew up a Tottenham fan. After years in soccer academies, he made his first appearance with Tottenham in 2011, scored his first Premier League goal last April and was a promising spark heading into this year’s campaign.
Kane picked up right where he left off in the first game of the 2014-’15 season, providing the game-winning assist as a substitute. Since then he has entered the starting lineup and been on a tear, scoring at will late in games and ripping the hearts out of opposing clubs.
The most intriguing part about the season is that Kane only seems to be getting better as the games get more intense, and teams try more and more to prevent him from scoring.
Tottenham’s manager, Mauricio Pochettino is known in soccer circles for having an incredibly demanding practice schedule, like Tom Thibodeau in the NBA. This allows for his young and energetic squad to crank up the intensity in the last 20 minutes of games, score goals and most importantly, race up the standings. They sit in seventh place right now.
At 21 years old, Kane is a great fit in this system. Everything seemed to finally click in the first game of February against Tottenham’s hated crosstown rival, Arsenal. Things were looking bleak for Tottenham as they faced a 1-0 deficit with time winding down, but Harry Kane was there to provide two staggering, late-game goals to win the game and steal the standings points from Arsenal.
Just when things couldn’t get any crazier, this past Sunday with one minute left in the game, Kane was brought down in the box and awarded a penalty kick with the team trailing 2-1. You can probably guess what happened next, but Kane scored a goal off the rebound and tied the game 2-2 as time expired. It was the closest thing to a buzzer beater soccer can produce.
Time will only tell if Kane can keep up this success and his insane streak of comeback goals. That being said, the legend of Harry Kane fits in with a broader narrative of young upstarts who capture the attention of sports fans. Think of Bryce Harper or Mike Trout winning Rookie of the Year in baseball in 2012, or maybe Anthony Davis’ monster year in the NBA this season. Sometimes it’s better to enjoy the ride, rather than ponder when the well will dry up.
Young sports stars are appealing to us; it’s pretty strange to write this piece and think, Harry Kane is my age. But it makes him more relatable and it makes us bigger fans of the game.
Tottenham’s next Premier League game is against Swansea City March 4, and I think we can all be excited to see what Harry Kane will do next.
Is Harry Kane your favorite young soccer star? Email Grey at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know your thoughts.