Few soccer players in the world have a more promising on-field future than Raheem Sterling, England’s 19-year-old, Jamaican-born striker.
Sterling is one of the youngest players in the World Cup and a key member of the English national team. From a soccer standpoint, he’s been in the headlines for all the right reasons, but that hasn’t been the case in his personal life.
Watch the video above for a highlight reel of Sterling, and read on for more about his career and background:
1. He’s Been Accused Twice of Assaulting Women, Including His Ex-Girlfriend
Sterling with his model girlfriend Shana Ann Rose Halliday. pic.twitter.com/rcnKFzcVwU
— TRACE Sport Stars (@TSportStars) April 15, 2014
Sterling was arrested last August and accused of assaulting his girlfriend after an argument over a text message.
Authorities said at the time that Sterling assaulted model Ann Rose Halliday, whom he was dating at the time. The case was thrown out a month later after prosectors said Halliday changed her story when testifying in court about the incident.
Prosecutors asked magistrates to declare Halliday a “hostile witness,” but withdrew the case when the request was not granted.
Sterling was also accused of assaulting a woman earlier in May 2013, but authorities dropped the charges after a witness failed to show up in court to testify against him.
2. He Only Has 1 Kid, Despite Rumors That He Has 4
— Raheem Sterling (@sterling31) March 19, 2014
Sterling has a daughter named Melody Rose, who was born in 2012 after Sterling had a brief relationship with Melody’s mother. He’s been rumored to have as many as four kids, but laughed off the rumors and called them “silly” in an interview with BBC.
Sterling told the network:
It made people think badly of me, that I’m not really grounded, that I’m out and about doing loads of madness.
In the same interview, Sterling said he was eager to move on from the assault allegations and get his life in order.
3. He Signed a 5-Year Deal with Liverpool in 2012
Sterling’s club career began when he joined the Queens Park Rangers youth team as a 9-year-old in 2003. He joined Liverpool in 2010 and signed a five-year deal with an annual base salary of $2.67 million in 2012. His first coach in Liverpool was Roy Hodgson, who now coaches the English national team.
In 2013-14, his second full year with the pro club, Sterling scored 10 goals and helped lead Liverpool to a runner-up finish in the English Premier League.
4. He Moved from Jamaica to England When He was 5
Sterling was born in Jamaica and emigrated to London with his three siblings when he was 5 to join his mom, Nadine, who had moved to London to find work.
According to BBC, Sterling was removed from mainstream schools because of behavioral problems and enrolled in the Vernon House Special School. It was clear to one of his teachers that Sterling was an immensely talented player but needed to straighten out his life off the field. BBC reported that the teacher told Sterling: “If you carry on the way you’re going, by the time you’re 17 you’ll either be in prison or playing for England.”
5. He’s Learned a Lot from Uruguay’s Luis Suarez, His Liverpool Teammate
One of Sterling’s mentors is on the opposite side today as England plays Uruguay: Luis Suarez, who’s Sterling’s Liverpool teammate and the reigning EPL scoring leader. Suarez missed Uruguay’s World Cup opener because he wast still recovering from knee surgery, but is making his World Cup debut against England.
Sterling has also leaned on Steven Gerrard, the captain of both Liverpool and the English national team.
Sterling told the Daily Mail in 2012:
I’m always learning from people like Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez. On the pitch, I couldn’t ask for better people around me at Liverpool, like Gerrard and Suarez who have been there and done it. I take stuff from their game, from the way they are, and I try and take that on.
Everyone is willing to lend a ear, to give you advice, guidance. You don’t have to ask, the old boys are always down your neck and down your ears telling you how to get better. It’s great to have them around.