At just 19-years-old, Omari Hutchinson’s name is one that most, if not all, EFL fans would have heard of. The teenager spent time in the academies of Chelsea, Charlton and Arsenal before returning to Stamford Bridge last season.
After excelling in the PL2 during the first half of 22/23, Hutchinson made his senior debut for The Blues back in January against Premier League champions, Manchester City. Having recently signed a season-long loan deal with Championship side Ipswich Town, Hutchinson is already making an impression in pre-season for The Tractor Boys; starting in the East Anglian side’s 1-0 win against two-time Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig, just last month. But Hutchinson was turning heads way before he turned pro.
Growing up, Hutchinson and his brothers started a YouTube page focusing on the young baller’s freestyling skills. Within no time at all, the left-footed magician racked up millions of views, amassing countless fans across the world. At 12-years-old, Hutchinson took his skills to a South-London tournament hosted by Brazilian football legend Pelé, where the three-time World Cup winner praised Hutchinson’s technical ability. There’s no denying, Hutchinson has always had what it takes to make it at the highest level of football.
VERSUS sat down with Hutchinson to talk about how he brings energy to his game, the importance of playing football with a smile on his face and what he thinks about PUMA’s latest ‘Energy Pack’.
N.B. At the time of this interview Omari Hutchinson had not yet completed his loan deal from Chelsea to Ipswich Town.
“I am someone who always has a smile on their face. I just hope by being as happy as I can, it will bring the right energy to people on and off the pitch.”
VERSUS: What do you think about PUMA’s new ‘Energy Pack’?
Omari Hutchinson: I’ll be honest with you: as an attacker, they’re seriously a bit of me. I really like them! I’m a big fan of the colourways on offer: they’re bright, in your face, perfect for when you’re playing up front and wanting to show off what you’ve got. I am a big fan, definitely.
VERSUS: When it comes to a new season, how important is it to have a new pair of boots?
Omari: I like to look good on the pitch whilst playing, and having a fresh pair of boots gives me that extra bit of confidence. As I said before, I love a brighter pair; they just make me feel that I can show off my flair and pace when I play. They also stand out a bit more, so people can look at me and go: “Who’s that?”. So yeah, I love colourful boots, especially. New boots, new season, new goals.
VERSUS: So this iteration of the ‘FUTURE’ model comes as part of the ‘Energy Pack’. We’re here today speaking to a number of next-gen stars, including yourself: how do you bring energy to your game?
Omari: A lot of it comes from my personality. I’m someone who always has a smile on their face, and I try to talk to different people if and when I can, and generally just try to be as happy as possible in all aspects of my life. At the end of the day, I get to play football for a living, which is what I love doing! I am living my dream and doing what I always set out to achieve. I just hope by being as happy as I can will bring the right energy to people on and off the pitch – and be a player who gets the crowd off their feet with my performances and attitude.
“I like to look good on the pitch whilst playing, and having a fresh pair of boots gives me that extra bit of confidence.”
VERSUS: That’s the type of player you are, someone who wants to express themselves freely. Off the pitch, how do you get ready and energise yourself for a new season?`
Omari: I try to make it as calm as possible. Whether it’s playing on my PlayStation or talking to friends or family. On the pitch, I just do what I do best: skills, pace, shooting, scoring. And I can do all of those things best when I am relaxed, that’s when I feel the most confident.
VERSUS: The last time VERSUS spoke with you it was at a PUMA event in Paris. Back then, you were at Arsenal and now you’re at Chelsea. How have you found it settling into a new environment?
Omari: To be honest, it was quite tough when I left, but Chelsea helped me settle in as quickly as I could. You know how it is, a new area, new staff, new players. But yeah, I’m just looking forward to this upcoming season – hopefully, I can impress the right people, do my best and show them what I’m capable of.
“I get to play football for a living, which is what I love doing! I am living my dream and doing what I always set out to achieve.”
VERSUS: And lastly, when it comes to setting new goals, how do you go about doing that?
Omari: I like to use the Notes app on my phone, that way I always have my goals with me. I watched a video of Kobe Bryant once, and how he put together his ‘Kill List’ – his version was specifically about players who were ranked higher than him, the players he had to beat to become the best. Mine is essentially a list of things I want to achieve or accomplish by a certain point. That’s something I’ve started to do recently, and I keep adding to it. No one knows what’s on it, though…just me.
Images and design by Sam Pembs for VERSUS.