John Dinkota may be at the start of his soccer career, but his journey definitely didn’t follow a straight path.
Dinkota was born in Geneva, Switzerland to Congolese parents. This is where he started to play soccer, at the age of five.
“My dad played semiprofessionally in Belgium and my brother played too,” explain the FC Montreal left back. “It was natural for me to play soccer as well.”
But he did not stay long in Switzerland. He moved to Quebec when he was seven and joined local teams, including Sainte-Foy and Quebec-Centre.
Growing up, Dinkota says there was one player who really inspired him: Thierry Henry.
“He’s my favourite player. I am his biggest fan. I watched all his goals, his games and his interviews.”
It may seem strange for a defender to look to a great French forward for inspiration, but Dinkota wasn’t always a defender. He has also played as a forward and an offensive midfielder.
“At 13, I moved up front for a season. I was pretty good. I scored a few goals. But in my head, when I was dreaming of becoming a professional player in front of thousands of fans, it was always as a defender.”
Naturally, his talent brought him to the Academy – not to mention, his brother Serge Dinkota (now coaching the Impact U13) was already a member.
“At first, I was told I did not perform consistently. This year, I changed a little bit in the way I work, with a new mindset to make sure that everything off the field doesn’t affect my preparation.”
The FC Montreal defender, who took his place in the starting lineup against Toronto FC II in the team’s inaugural game in USL on March 28, said he likes to take the time to evaluate and analyze his performances.
“Me and my brother, we talk a lot. We always come back on the game and the play. It’s a different vision, as he is not on the field. It helps me get a different perspective.”
It’s with this positive attitude that he looks forward to FC Montreal’s 2015 season. For him, all that matters now is to get playing time and become one of the main contributors on the team - someone who the coaches can rely on.