Club’s youth players obtain US College scholarships

Youth soccer on Grand Bahama, and the Club in particular, received a further boost this week when 3 players obtained soccer scholarships from US Colleges. The 3 players, who have all progressed from the Dolly Madison Youth Soccer Academy at Freeport Rugby & Football Club, have been accepted to attend Oklahoma University of Science and Arts. The players expect to be traveling to their new surroundings next week to commence the next stage of their academic and soccer careers.

Dominic Adams has probably been the stand out young soccer player on the Island for the last 5 years having started playing with the Mens Freeport Rugby & Football Club at the tender age of 14. Dominic is a skilful midfielder who has won numerous awards (Young Player of the Year, MVP etc) and has been courted by numerous colleges in the US. Having weighed up his options, Dominic has now decided to attend Oklahoma to study Physiotherapy.

Antonio Charles will be joining his team mate at Oklahoma where he will be studying Civil Engineering. Antonio is another ‘big ‘player on the Island who is equally adept at playing in midfield or as a striker. A former student at St Georges High School Antonio is looking forward to the challenge ahead.

Mcyver Dean has come a long way for a five foot nothing’full back! Always known as a strong defender , McGyver has spent hours honing his ball skills and has improved greatly in this area in recent years; so much so that last year he was called up to the Bahamas National Squad. Mcyver intends to study Engineering at Oklahoma

In addition to these 3 players, Rika Bazile and Nichelson Archie Charles are also currently in talks with US Colleges concerning soccer scholarships and it is hoped that both will also shortly be accepted into Colleges shortly. Rika and Archie both graduated from Eight Mile Rock High School and formed the nucleus of the High School soccer team for a number of years . Rika is looking to study engineering whilst Archie will pursue an IT academic career.

All five players are part of the Dolly Madison Youth Soccer Academy which is for boys aged 9 to 21 years of age . They were all part of the Academy’s victorious Brita Red Bulls which , despite consisting of players all aged 16 to 20 years of age, won the last GBFL adult football title in 2005/6. The Academy will open its doors for the new season in Early September. It is hoped that the Academy will be able to utilize the expanded training facilities, including an additional full-size pitch , 2 practice fields and a 5 aside area at the club which are scheduled to be completed in early 2008.

Academy Director Mark Hardy was understandably ecstatic about the scholarships noting that the Academys original 5 year plan had included ‘getting players away ‘ on soccer scholarships in order to further their education and development. He said “ I have constantly harped onto the players that , whilst I would like to coach them indefinitely , I would prefer that they all left the Academy to pursue a College education . Winning the local soccer league was nice but they needed to look at the big picture , get a scholarship , further your education and develop life skills . Playing soccer ( or indeed any sport) can do this for you . I am immensely proud of all of the players who are going away to College. Players like Dom and Rica have been with me since the beginning of the programme 5 years ago and they should serve as a great example to the younger players coming through the Academy Programme. We have worked hard to achieve this alongside Dwayne Jennnings of Search Bahamas and it is great to see this hard work pay off. I would like to thank Dwayne for his help as well as the other coaches who have helped over the years in the Academy’s programme at Freeport Rugby and Football Club .

In order to celebrate the scholarships and to mark the end of an era , there will be a celebratory football game this Friday at Freeport Rugby & Football Club beginning at 7pm. All five players will join forces as the reigning league champions will re-unite in a match against their close rivals Freeport FC All Star XI. It is anticipated that the game will be a great send off for the young players as they close this particular chapter of their lives. All spectators and well wishes are invited to attend.