Kiyan Prince: The Young Talent Whose Legacy Lives on in Foundation & EA SPORTS FIFA 20

Ali Rampling
Kiyan Prince was a talented young striker in QPR's academy.
Kiyan Prince was a talented young striker in QPR's academy. / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Kiyan Prince was a talented young footballer on the books at QPR, an 'old fashioned number nine' with an infectious personality and a bright future in the game.

On 18 May 2006, he was stabbed to death by a fellow pupil outside the gates of his school in north London. Kiyan had been trying to break up a fight and was just 15 years old.

"I didn't know that emotional pain could show up physically," Kiyan's Dad, Dr Mark Prince OBE told 90min. "I just cried like a big baby everyday. Torn apart, broken heart, and still trying to make something happen with whatever strength I had."

Nicknamed 'The Bullet' because of his electric pace, Kiyan was tipped to enjoy a successful footballing career at the very top by coaches and teammates.

Kiyan Prince was a star in the making.
Kiyan Prince was a star in the making.

"He had a huge personality," Portsmouth assistant manager Joe Gallen, who coached Kiyan at QPR, remembers fondly. "He was the main man. The kids looked up to him and if he was in a good mood or if he was playing well he would bring you along with him. All the lads loved him."

"He had that charisma, that something about him that you wanted to be in his presence," former teammate Michael Harriman, now of Northampton Town, adds.

"When you watched him play for QPR you could tell that he was going to make it and he was going to go to the top. He would have been like Raheem Sterling, who came through the QPR academy and hit the highs, I have no doubt."

But from tragedy came purpose. Spurred on by Kiyan's death, Mark set up the Kiyan Prince Foundation, a charity that supports disadvantaged young people through life coaching and sport.

The foundation delivers workshops, educational talks and motivational training to individuals in primary, secondary and tertiary education in order to prevent young people going down the path of urban violence.

"He was fearful. Something was wrong. He knew that something was desperately wrong. He must have known that his life was coming to an end. These are the heartbreaking thoughts that you're left with when you think about your child. You think about their last thoughts, how scared they were."

Dr Mark Prince OBE

Having overcome crime, homelessness and drug and alcohol abuse in his youth to forge a career as a professional boxer, Mark drew on his personal experiences of triumph and adversity to help give young people the belief to better their futures.

"The core to it is to inspire, empower and educate young people," Mark explains. "They need to know that just because they didn't get the grades they thought they'd get, those grades do not define their future.

"Their future is whatever they believe it to be. The Kiyan Prince Foundation needs to step in, allow people to see their greatness. Their destiny is in their hands.

"If you look at great leaders and successful people you will find that they are not grade A students most of them. They're from rough backgrounds and they become successful because they have certain blueprints to their character.

"They never give up, there's a discipline about them, a focus about them, and those things can be developed."

Mark holding Kiyan when he was a baby.
Mark holding Kiyan when he was a baby.

Fourteen years on from his death, Kiyan's footballing legacy continues to live on.

In EA SPORTS FIFA 20 Ultimate Team, players can unlock a tifo in Kiyan's image. In August 2019, QPR supporters voted to rename Loftus Road the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.

Mark was a guest of honour at QPR's opening home match of the 2019/20 season against Huddersfield to mark the renaming of the stadium.

"When the Kiyan Prince story was told it touches a lot of people, and it obviously touched the hearts of our fans," said QPR CEO Lee Hoos. "I think even the people who had said 'I really don't like changing the name of Loftus Road', when it was out there and when Mark Prince took to the field that first day everybody said: 'great move'."

FIFA 20 have incorporated Kiyan into Ultimate Team mode.
FIFA 20 have incorporated Kiyan into Ultimate Team mode.

"It's insane," adds Mark. "You can't even get this thing around your head. How many other little young black boys can walk down the street and find a stadium and see their name outside? Kiyan means something, not just to me, but his life and his story is speaking from the grave, speaking to young people."

Mark continues to campaign, fundraise and educate through his charity to ensure his son's story is not forgotten and to help further the lives of young people.

"You're gonna see guys in the future that are football stars that are going to say 'yep, we went through the Kiyan Prince Foundation school of excellence and this is how we developed into the awesome person that we are today because of this wonderful organisation'."

Tragic circumstances robbed Kiyan of the opportunity to fulfil his potential. The Kiyan Prince Foundation gives young people the chance to realise theirs.