Mumbai is a city where people go to accomplish their dreams. The city has a never-ending appetite for those who aspire to a grander and surreal life. But for Bryce Miranda, things were a bit different.

Born in Mumbai, his dreams have taken him on the road away from the city everyone so desperately wants to be a part of, but on a road that he has always wanted to be on.

After his formative years as a footballer in the city, Miranda got the opportunity to go to Goa and play for Churchill Brothers in the Hero I-League. That then paved the way for his ultimate dream, further away from his hometown, but right at the heart of a place, he had grown so fond of despite being miles away.

For Miranda who grew up watching the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) slowly take its position of prominence in Indian football, the ultimate fantasy was to play for Kerala Blasters FC, to play at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi, to play in front of the sea of yellow who could chant his name from minute one to last.

And on June 15, 2022, the 22-year-old got his wish. He was there where he wanted to be, draped in yellow, flooded with good wishes from the majority of the yellow family who were equally thrilled to welcome him aboard. 

“When I got to know that Kerala Blasters FC are interested in me, I just couldn’t say no because this was one club I was dreaming to play for, and especially dreaming to play in Kerala,” Miranda told in an exclusive interview.

“The fans there are incredibly supportive and passionate. The love and support I got after Kerala Blasters FC announced my signing was just incredible and I can’t wait to be in Kochi and play in front of those amazing fans. My dream has come true,” he added.

The Blasters had made their interest to sign him known for over a month and for Miranda, there was only one direction he was heading after that.

There was a good reason why Kerala Blasters FC moved for him. Miranda had made an impression during the two seasons he spent with Churchill Brothers where he made 32 appearances. Although he just had two goals and four assists to show in that period, his potential was evident. His performances had earned him a U-23 national team call-up for the Asian Cup qualifiers in UAE and Kerala Blasters FC had certainly taken note.

“I’m happy Bryce is joining us, I hope he will adapt fast. We are always on a mission to bring players with high potential to Kerala and to help them play their best football in Kerala. Bryce is a case with high potential but also a lot of work to do,” Kerala Blasters FC sporting director Karolis Skynkis said after securing the signing of the talented youngster.

Miranda who is a left-winger will add variety to the already formidable KBFC attack. As a youngster, he also has plenty to learn from the attacking riches at Kerala Blasters FC.

And as far as learning process is concerned, the Mumbai-born winger has always learnt from the best be it on the pitch or off the pitch. Idolising Angel Di Maria who like him is a left-footed winger, Miranda has tried to model himself according to the Argentine.

On the pitch, he represented Don Bosco school as a kid which is renowned for grooming football players in Mumbai from a young age.

“I studied at Don Bosco Matunga. It is a school well known for sports and especially football. I had gone for selections when I was in the 2nd grade and it was my school coach Leslie Machado who had picked me up so till 10th he was my coach and used to guide me throughout,” Miranda recalled.

His performances attracted the attention of Mumbai FC who made him a part of their youth ranks and Miranda’s career began to take shape.

“In my first season when I signed with Mumbai FC and played the under-18 I-league I was doing well and that’s where I made up my mind I want to play professional football. There was no turning back after that year,” Miranda said.

After Mumbai FC, Miranda went on to play the local leagues in Mumbai for Union Bank. It was a period when he faced challenges that senior-level football offered and also had to battle self-doubt.

“There were times when I felt like giving up. I have faced a lot of ups and downs. But my mindset was strong enough to get over those challenges. I wanted to be a professional footballer and I wanted to play at the top level,  I kept dreaming and kept working hard. I’m happy when I look back on those rough days when I felt like quitting but I didn’t give up because if I gave up then I wouldn’t be where I’m today,” the 22-year-old said.

Miranda will now once again have to take a step up when he plays in the Hero ISL but having overcome tough times in his football career, he is better prepared to take on the challenges of India’s top footballing tier.

“I have watched the ISL from outside as a fan and now I’m here going to play. I just want to keep my head down and give my 100% every day,” Miranda said.

“It’s going to be challenging and there’s a lot of quality in the ISL but I’m ready for any challenge that comes,” he added.

Miranda is yet to have a conversation with head coach Ivan Vukomanovic but he has ample knowledge of how the team plays having keenly followed the Blasters last season.

“I have watched and followed KBFC matches keenly. They had an incredible final as they reached the final,” he said.

“My goal for the first season is to help my team and contribute in any which way possible. But of course, the main aim is to bring the trophy to Kerala,” he added.

Miranda has just realised his dream of signing for Kerala Blasters FC, it is now all about fulfilling his next dream of helping the Kochi-based side win the Hero ISL after three near-misses.

For a man who left the city of dreams behind to pursue his own dream, anything is possible.