On the face of it, Faiq Bolkiah looks like any other up-and-coming English Premier League youth prospect. His profile on Chelsea’s website shows a taut-faced U18 player, his bio clocking in at an innocuous 39 words.
Faiq Bolkiah is originally from Brunei and was at Southampton and Reading before moving to Chelsea in January 2014. He’s an attacking player who predominantly plays wide-right or wide-left and likes to cut inside to create and score goals.
A source told TopDrawerSoccer.com this week that U.S. U17 coach Richie Williams took a recent trip to London to scout an unidentified “Chelsea winger.” Bolkiah is of Bruneian heritage but was born in Los Angeles, is a Chelsea winger and was born in 1998, making him age eligible for the new U17 cycle starting later this year. Williams may well be looking at someone else on his trip, but there’s a good chance it’s Bolkiah.
If the story ended there, we could toss Bolkiah’s name onto the heap with the rest of the promising string of dual-nationals and move on. But it doesn’t, primarily because of Bolkiah’s family. His uncle is the Sultan of Brunei, one of the richest men on the planet (in 2008 Forbes reported his net worth at $20 billion). And according to Vanity Fair, his father, Prince Jefri of Brunei, has “probably gone through more cash than any other human being on Earth.” Prince Jefri might be the most notoriously lavish playboy in modern history. And his son could soon be in an American national team jersey.