With two uncles who played for the Ghanaian national football team, Perry Kingson’s soccer career was destined.
Born in Ghana, the left-footed striker faced a high level of competition from an early age, but he always had his uncles to look up to.
“Soccer has always been something that connects me to my family,” Kingson said.
When Kingson was 13, he tried out for Right To Dream, a rigorous soccer academy in Ghana that recruits from all over the continent.
Right To Dream began in 1999 as a not-for-profit football academy that trained a few boys on a dust pitch in Accra, Ghana.
The program’s success led to the construction of a residential international school, which offers scholarships to children all over Africa. In 2010, a new $2.5 million facility was opened.
After excelling on the Right To Dream academy team, Kingson received a full scholarship to play for Kent School, a boarding school in Kent, Connecticut.
Kingson said that approximately four Right To Dream athletes receive full scholarships to American high schools each year. The scholarships are determined not just by soccer acumen, but also by one’s academic standing and maturity level, Kingson said.
“Being in Ghana and being able to travel and play in tournaments all around gave me the experience to be away from home,” Kingson said. “The transition to Connecticut wasn’t too hard for me because I already had that experience.”
Despite COVID-19 disrupting his senior year, Kingson was still able to have a decorated career at Kent, making the NEPSAC all-star team as a junior.
College coaches from Wake Forest, The University of Pennsylvania and Amherst were looking to recruit Kingson, but Kingson said he fell in love with Lehigh on his visit.
“Seeing the other guys, I just felt like I was going to be a part of something bigger,” Kingson said. “I feel like the program here is growing and I wanted to be a part of that.”
Since arriving in Bethlehem, Kingson has made an immediate impact on the field. He’s played in all five games, and he’s started the last three.
Kingson has unique abilities on the field and has an infectious energy that ripples through the entire team, his teammate freshman Nikhil Mhatre said.
“He’s a bright soul,” Mhatre said. “He’s definitely one of those kids who’s enjoying the game. He plays for the love of the game and it resonates throughout the whole team.”
Associate coach Ryan Hess attributed Kingson’s early success to his attacking mindset that allows him to create space for himself and for his teammates.
Despite a veteran team that returns 18 players from the 2019 Patriot League Championship roster, Kingson has seen an abundance of minutes during his freshman season.
“Everything he has gotten so far he has earned,” Hess said. “Perry (Kingson) is a skillful player. He is very confident out there, which is very important to his early success. He has great practice habits and works really hard in training.”
Kingson is the second player from Ghana to join Lehigh’s soccer program, joining senior Michael Tahiru.
Tahiru was in contact with Kingson before he committed to Lehigh, telling him how he thought Kingson’s play would translate to Patriot League soccer.
“Michael (Tahiru) told me how he feels the program here can be really helpful for me in my pursuit to be a professional soccer player,” Kingson said.
Kingson said his main goal is to win a Patriot League Championship during his career at Lehigh and then go on to be a professional soccer player after graduation.