Man, 22, is a world champion but some think he's 'too old' to play

Joseph Kidd believes criticism 'pushes him forward'
-Credit: (Image: Supplied)

A man feels he still has to prove his doubters wrong despite winning competitions with thousands of pounds on the line.

Joseph ‘noly’ Kidd, 22, from the Everton/Fazakerley area, was interested in football as a child but as he grew older, he began to realise his main passion was elsewhere. Speaking to the ECHO, he said: “Like any other kid in Liverpool, football was a big passion for me until I was about 12 or 13.

“Around then, I started realising how much more I liked video games than going outside and doing anything else.”

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In July 2015, Rocket League was released, which is a car football game. Players take control of a car and have to rely on speed and jumping to put the giant football into a net and stop their opponents scoring at the other end.

Joseph, who also spent time in West Derby growing up, bought the game but initially was not a fan due to how difficult it was to play. He said: “At first I hated it - it was not comparable to any other game. Then, on one random day I thought, I'll try it again on my own and see how it goes, and I liked it. It stuck with me a lot more.”

Joseph began to watch sports stars play Rocket League professionally in tournaments and compete for huge prizes, and became keen to follow their example. He said: “I just played it for fun. Eventually I got to a point where I was hitting the highest rank and there's not much else to go from there apart from playing in these tournaments.”

In 2018, Joseph began his own professional career. Working his way up, he is now considered one of the best professional Rocket League players in the world, has a Championship win under his belt and three regional wins. He was also signed as a Red Bull Player earlier in the year, joining the likes of Liverpool’s Liam James and Trent Alexander-Arnold who are also sponsored by the company.

Joseph said: “I played in tournaments every two weeks to win £60. Then it turned into £500 and then £10,000, and now I'm competing to win a million dollars.”

These prizes are shared between himself and his three teammates, Kyle Storer, Robert Kyser and Jacob Knapman at OG Esports.

Joseph "Noly" Kidd poses for a portrait in Austin, TX, USA on December 17th, 2023.  // Chad Wadsworth / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202401040362 // Usage for editorial use only // 
Joseph 'noly' Kidd, from Liverpool, who plays for the OG Esports Rocket League team
Joseph is a Red Bull Athlete -Credit:Chad Wadsworth / Red Bull Content Pool

But despite their achievements, he still faces some questions about his ability ahead of the Rocket League Championship Series 2024, which is taking place this year in London.

Joseph said: “I'm coming into this tournament with something to prove. I think it would just be nice to be able to also prove to ourselves that we're not just a group of old players who can't win anything. That's the stigma that's going around. We're in our twenties and are the older guys within the community.”

Joseph feels these doubts are driving him on. He said: “I'd say any criticism always pushes me forward. I think any time I've had to overcome a hurdle similar to that, I've continuously gone past that and gone beyond.”

Joseph believes practice is key for anyone hoping to become a professional player, and wants to show other people in Merseyside that it’s a viable career path. He said: “When I first started, I was terrible, I couldn't hit the ball straight.

“Then I was playing this game eight to 10 hours a day. I think over time, the more you play, the more you'll learn and figure it out. Watching YouTube videos and Twitch streamers and being able to get inspiration and help from those always helps too.”

After spells in other teams, Joseph is now delighted with what he is achieving at Red Bull. He said: “There's times where you get removed from a team where you feel like it was undeserved or they want to make an upgrade, and you lose a lot of confidence. But it's really important to build that up and tell yourself that you are one of the best. I'm back on track now.

“Each day, I make sure I'm grateful for it. I’m using the resources that I have with Red Bull to help me improve my career even further.

“Honestly, I'm proud of myself. I've gotten this far and I've done what I've done despite everything that has gone against me. Also, I'm thankful for all the people and, and all the resources that have helped me to get where I am.

“I'd like to be in a position in the future where I can help a lot more. Younger people from Liverpool realise that that's a path that they can go down.”

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