Now 11 years old, Rayane Bounida plays like a man among boys in U12 matches.
In soccer, as in other sports, demonstrating promise at a young age is no guarantee of future success. But in the case of 11-year-old Morrocan phenom Rayane Bounida, the future looks bright even when weighed against the lofty expectations of soccer fans across the globe.
Signed by the Belgian squad Anderlecht at just 7 years old, the tween soccer star already boasts a lofty social media presence, much of which consists of U12 highlights that make Bounida look like a man among children on the pitch.
While it’s a common practice for clubs with junior squads to enlist players under the age of 18, bringing aboard someone as young as seven years old is unheard of, making Bounida a decidedly unique prospect.
Per the interview below, Bounida is now attending school and training in Spain, no doubt to groom him for the competition he’s likely to face upon reaching adulthood.
There’s little doubt that significant pressures and disruptions in normal childhood result from the type of attention that he has been given, but with it also comes a great number of opportunities that his peers are not afforded.
Only time will dictate whether the spotlight serves as a blessing as a curse for this gifted athlete, but Bounida sure seems to be enjoying the ride so far.