Huddersfield: Sorba Thomas is looking to complete his Hollywood story in play-off final
Regardless of the Premier League, Sorba Thomas has Hollywood in his sights. “I’m living in a movie now,” grins the Huddersfield and Wales winger. “I hope they can make a movie and that Will Smith can play me!”
Screenwriters have to take this into account. Because in the next eight days, the former scaffolder could complete a rags to riches story reminiscent of Jamie Vardy’s, whose own biopic has already been commissioned.
Just 16 months ago, Thomas played in non-League for Boreham Wood. But now the 23-year-old is just two play-off wins away from the Premier League and a World Cup.
Sorba Thomas and Huddersfield Town are just one step away from the Premier League
Last January Thomas played non-league football for Boreham Wood
How good does that sound? “Great,” Thomas replies. ‘Those are two dreams that can come together in a week. I don’t think anything would top that in my career.’
From Boreham Wood to Wembley, Thomas’s remarkable journey began after the heartbreak of his release from West Ham as a 15-year-old.
“That was the first time I was told I wasn’t good enough and it touched me deeply,” he recalls. “I threw my boots in the trash. But a year later, my friends and family got me playing again and I went straight to Sports Direct to get a new pair!”
Thomas hopes to follow in the footsteps of Jamie Vardy who also played non-league
However, it was at another sporting goods store that Thomas spent most of his next year. “When I first went to Boreham Wood, I was working at JD Sports in Oxford Circus,” he recalls.
‘I didn’t like that at all. In your head you think: “I have to make it real as a football player, this cannot be done every week”.
‘Then I went into the scaffolding. It was cold mornings and long days. I started at 6am and wouldn’t finish until 7pm.
“That was another one where I thought: I can’t do this for the rest of my life, I have to play in big stadiums, big moments.”
“But I would never take back what I’ve done. I feel like my drive got through those cold days of scaffolding.’
Huddersfield reached the final after a hard-fought semi-final win over Luton Town
Thomas thinks he probably earned more from the cold days of the scaffolding than from football back then. But that all changed last January when he was signed by Huddersfield, even if it took him a while to understand his newfound wealth.
“I remember my teammates talking about winning bonuses,” Thomas recalled of a locker room conversation after beating Reading in August. ‘I asked, ‘Should we share this?. “They said, ‘No, that’s all yours’.
‘After that I had a huge smile on my face. It was good money. I bought a pair of sneakers with it!’
There have been many more bonuses and trainers since then, with Thomas’ good form in his first full season at Huddersfield helping them reach Sunday’s play-off final against Nottingham Forest.
Thomas has scored 16 assists and three goals this season which landed him a new contract
Huddersfield reaps the reward by taking Thomas straight out of non-league football
His 16 assists and three goals saw him earn a new contract last week and he also won three caps with Wales – his mother’s home country, who will face Scotland or Ukraine next Sunday for a place in the World Cup in Qatar.
“Every time I go to camp, I pinch myself,” admits Newham-born Thomas, whose father is from Sierra Leonne. “These are people I played like on FIFA or watched on TV and I’m their teammate now. If you had told me last year that I might be able to play in a World Cup next year, I wouldn’t have believed you.’
But Thomas always believed that the Premier League was a possibility, even if others didn’t.
“When I came, there were a lot of doubters,” he adds. “But I think I’ve turned all those doubters into believers now.
“When you see the success stories of players like Vardy, Mikhail Antonio, Tyrone Mings, who came from non-league to the Premier League, you always believe that your time will come.
“Not many Championship clubs take a player directly from non-League, but Huddersfield took the risk.
“Hopefully I can repay them by placing them in the Premier League. It’s just a game to make a dream come true.”