Peter Kioso has taken time out to thank Hartlepool United and Dunstable Town for helping him land his dream move to the Championship with Luton Town in The Non-League Paper.
The 20-year-old right-back, pictured, had been an impressive performer this season for National League Pools, who he joined from Southern League Dunstable in 2018 after leaving MK Dons.
That form saw the Hatters pay an undisclosed fee to land the highly-rated defender last week.
Kioso told Sunday’s paper that learning in the Non-League nursery was the key to his success – and he’s determined to work harder than ever to make the most of the opportunity with the Hatters.
“Some people down play the effect Non-League can have on a player’s career,” said Kioso, who made 70 appearances for Hartlepool and scored four goals.
“When people hear ‘Non-League’ they think it’s rubbish, back to front football. As a defender playing at Dunstable and Hartlepool helped me, not perfect my game because I have so much more to learn, but it helped me work on my defensive game.
“It helped me get better – you’re playing against different types of players every week and you have to work out the best way to defend against them. Non-League also builds you up mentally, not only physically. You become stronger for playing against older and experienced players.
“My ambition was always to get back into the League. I felt that playing Non-League was the only way that could help me achieve that ambition.
“I have loads of love and respect for Hartlepool – especially the fans for the way they treated me, they were excellent to me. And Dunstable played a big part in my career as well. That was my first men’s football and helped me get ready for the men’s game.
“I’m not the finished article. I’ve got so much to work on. I’m going to work hard every day to get better but going to Dunstable and Hartlepool and beginning to understand the trade has helped me push on.”
New teammate Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu is Kioso’s cousin and it’s been a warm welcome to the Hatter family.
“It’s not only him, all the boys have welcomed me in like I’ve been there for years,” added Kioso, who is also close friends with Luton defender Brendan Galloway.
“It just shows the character of the club. Everyone is a family – from the staff to the board and all the players. It’s great to be coming to a club like this where everybody welcomes you and treats you as their own.”
Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper on Sunday for the big picture and latest news from across Non-League over the last seven days.
As well as exclusive match reports and pictures from all of Saturday’s fixtures in the Vanarama National League, the BetVictor-Sponsored Isthmian League, Southern League and Northern Premier League, the paper’s live coverage extends all the way to Steps 5 and 6.
Image courtesy of Mark Fletcher/hartlepoolunited.co.uk