Women’s Football League to kick off October 31

The BVI Football Association is preparing to launch its Women’s League on 31st October, 2020

Following the highly successful Women’s Festival Cup and the increasingly popular national team training programmes both on Tortola and Virgin Gorda, the BVI Football Association is now preparing to launch its Women’s League, with opening day scheduled for 31st October, 2020.

Floods, storms and pandemics may mean it is almost four years since the Ballstars were crowned “Champions” after seeing off the challenge of the youngsters from VG United, but it now will be the turn of the next generation to spearhead the resurgence of the women’s game.

Just this past weekend, the likes of Ariel Mohammed, Darci Reich and Tinia Van Zoost – all products of the BVIFA Schools’ Programme – took center stage as the national players took part in a training session and practice match.

“The future is looking great,” commented Wayne Phillip who is in charge of the programme along with Anna French of Virgin Gorda. “The energy and interest coming from the girls proves we are heading in the right direction and it is definitely exciting times.”

In the match, Team Mohammed beat Team Van Zoost 3-1 on goals from Reich (2) and Morgan Creque, whilst Kezia Gumbs was also on the scoresheet.

Although some of the more experienced players are still around to mentor the youngsters and challenge them to become even better, according to Phillip, 70% of the players are under 19.

Whilst the national team squad training takes place three times a week, the BVIFA’s plans will bring a competitive atmosphere to supplement the work of Phillips and French.

Each of the teams participating will be affiliated to a member club of the BVIFA and must include a qualified coach. They ideally will play in the same colours as the parent club and all players will be registered with the BVIFA.

Initially the games will be 5-a-side and take place to coincide with men’s games on Tortola and Virgin Gorda.

Four teams have already completed the registration process, The Wolues, the Avengers, the Panthers and VG Utd. The other clubs are putting together rosters and any females still not signed are encouraged to seek out a club or contact the BVIFA office.

FIFA awards clothing, equipment to BVIFA in recognition of continued development of football despite COVID-19 challenges

BVIFA awarded clothing & equipment from FIFA as it plans to launch Youth Academy Leagues as of 1st November 2020

As recognition for the work put in by the coaches and players in keeping the game going throughout the unheralded Covid 19 pandemic, the world governing body, FIFA’s, Technical Division has awarded the BVI Football Association a huge bundle of clothing and equipment.

In a letter to the BVIFA, Mr. Steven Martens, FIFA Technical Director, expressed his gratitude for the commitment, hard work and creativity shown by the coaches and demonstrated by the players as local football looks to overcome the many issues thrown up by the pandemic.

Most recently, following the protocols of the Government of the Virgin Islands which have allowed training and practice to resume under official guidelines, the BVIFA and its coaches were able to get youth programmes back up and running on Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Anegada.

According to Dan Neville, the FA’s Technical Director, Jost Van Dyke will soon follow and plans for a Youth Academy League can now also continue.

“We are delighted to be recognized for hard work in getting our programs up and running. The equipment FIFA have so kindly donated will have a huge impact on all players. A massive well done to all the BVIFA staff and a big thank you to Lenny, Jason, Andre and Gareth for their incredible ongoing support,” said Neville.

Apart from a supply of clothing, the shipment from FIFA includes, balls, boots, bibs and shin guards

Noting that now is the time for everyone to come together and live the FIFA values of Fair Play, Team Spirit, Transparency and Innovation, Martens hopes the token of appreciation will go along way to helping the BVIFA to continue it’s development programmes.

A hope shared by Neville, who confirmed the aim of the BVIFA “to put the equipment to good use and further enhance every aspect of football – youth, senior, male or female – in the islands”

The youth programmes are especially important to the BVIFA as well as the clubs as plans are progressing to launch Youth Academy Leagues as of 1st November 2020.

Each of the association’s member clubs have been approached to affiliate U17 and U13 squads of both boys and girls and appoint a qualified coach to run the teams that will then participate in a 5-a-side or 7-a-side League on Fridays and Saturdays.

So far 6 clubs have accepted the invitation, the Wolues, the Panthers, the Sugar Boys, Sea Argo, Old Madrid, VG United, Lion Heart, One Caribbean and the Rebels.

Once the BVIFA receives Government approval, schools’ programmes are also ready to be rolled out, so getting the youths back training across the Territory will be pivotal in the competitive future of the game.

Chalwell debuts in England FA Youth Cup

Luka Chalwell has become the fist BVIslander to play in one of the English Football Associations most prestigious competitions, the FA Youth Cup.

Luka Chalwell has become the fist BVIslander to play in one of the English Football Associations most prestigious competitions, the FA Youth Cup, which since its inception back in 1952, has now grown to over 400 clubs entering the competition hoping to lift the coveted trophy.

Chalwell, a shining light from the BVIFA’s Schools, Youth, Club and National Squad player pathways, joined the likes of David Beckham, George Best, John Barnes, Ryan Giggs, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Paul Gascoigne and Gareth Bale who all have taken the opportunity afforded by the competition to go onto bigger and better things.

English Premier League giants, Liverpool are current Champions, Chelsea won the Cup the previous five times, Manchester United have lifted the Cup 10 times overall and it is the competition that launched their fabled “Class of ‘92” , so, whilst Chalwell’s debut may be with the slightly less renowned Poole Town FC , he is still rightly proud of his achievement.

“I am grateful to have been given this opportunity with Poole and even happier to have helped the team advance to the next round,” commented Chalwell after Poole had progressed with a 4-1 victory against Dorchester Town.

Meanwhile the BVIFA’s Technical Director, Dan Neville was equally as enthusiastic over the importance of Chalwell’s debut: “The FA Youth Cup is known around the world, so to have one of our young players involved is another milestone in the progress our players are making and the benefits our progammes are starting to produce.”

However, Neville also hopes Chalwell’s achievement is just the beginning. “It is very important we continue to provide our home-grown players with a variety of opportunities and competition in order for them to reach their full potential,” he said.

Neville also believes now is the time to create even more mile stones and memories, so maybe it wont be long until a BVIslander is not only playing in the FA Youth Cup, but also other major competitions in front of a full house at one of the world’s iconic football stadiums!

Football community mourns death of Mathew “Shorty” Daly

The BVIFA and football community mourn the death of Mathew “Shorty” Daly

The BVIFA along with the rest of the football community across the Territory is united in passing on condolences to the family and friends of Matthew Daly, an avid player, vociferous fan and active supporter of the game – especially when it involved his Old Madrid F.C team or the BVI Masters.

“It is with great shock and sadness that the Old Madrid Football Club received the news of the death of our brother and member Mr. Mathew Daly or “Shorty” as he is commonly called,” lamented BVIFA Treasurer and a Founder Member as well as a Vice President of Old Madrid, Kenrick Grant “He has been very active in the club on and off the field and he will be greatly missed.”

Grant also noted that “Mathew became active with the club when we formed the veteran’s team ‘BVI Masters’ to compete in a regional Veterans’ tournament in 2007.  His passion for football would sometimes cause friction with the coach if he is substituted or not selected to play.”

Daly was also known for being well groomed, punctual, very competitive and not shy in bringing attention to his abilitie. “His competitive nature made him dedicated to training and being punctual for every match day. On the few occasions that Mathew scored for his team, he would glorify his goals for a very long time, reminding everyone of his ability,” said Grant.

Daly also held the position of Vice President and Public Relations Officer on the management council, and was a member of the organizing committee for the hosting of the yearly Invitational Masters Tournament. 

“ Old Madrid Football Club express our deepest condolences to the family and many friends of our brother Mathew Daly, and appeal to the public to give the police any assistance that can help to solve this horrific crime” concluded Grant.

World Cup Qualifiers’ delay beneficial to VI national team

BVIFA President Andy Bickerton believes the decision taken jointly by CONCACAF and FIFA to delay the World Cup Qualifiers will prove to be beneficial to the Virgin Islands’ national team.

According to BVI Football Association President, Mr. Andy Bickerton, the decision taken jointly by CONCACAF and FIFA to delay the World Cup Qualifiers will prove to be beneficial to the Virgin Islands’ national team.

CONCACAF and FIFA agreed that the CONCACAF Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will not be played in the match windows of October or November 2020, and will instead begin with the first round in the FIFA match window of March 2021.

“From the BVIFA’s perspective the delay in the World Cup Qualifiers until March 2021 makes a lot of sense,” commented Bickerton. “Hopefully by that time spectators will be able to attend the home matches and we will be able to bring all of our players together for preparation without facing the COVID-19 quarantine regulations. Travel will have become more relaxed allowing the BVI to benefit from the economic effects of the Sports Tourism opportunity provided by the visit of the fans from Guatemala and Curacao.”

Many parts of the region continue to have very challenging public health situations, and that has been a key factor in this decision.

Additionally, several countries across the confederation have travel restrictions and quarantine requirements, which would make international football involving 30 national teams extremely difficult. CONCACAF will now work with FIFA to finalize a new schedule, beginning with the first round in March 2021, which will be communicated in due course.

Reds are BVIFA U12 Youth Festival Cup Champions

Reds are the BVIFA U12 Youth Festival Cup Champions 2020

The Reds are the U12 Youth Festival Cup Champions after defeating the Blues 2-1 in the decisive game of the Championship which took place on Saturday August 15, 2020 at the National Stadium, East End / Long Look, Tortola.

Team Green and Team Orange were also in action, competing in round robin league playoffs to determine the positions for the Championship finals.

In the final, T’Andre Frett scored twice to secure the win, whilst Christian Vanterpool netted a consolation for the Blues.

On the way to the Championship game, the Reds were off and running with a 2-1 win over the Greens as goals by Othneal Gillings and Charlie Potgeiter sandwiched a strike by Latriel Williams, but were then held to a 0-0 draw by the Oranges and in the semi final they faced the Greens again, coming out comfortable 3-0 winners with eventual Golden Boot recipient, Gillings firing home a hat trick.

The Blues secured their place – bouncing back from losing 0-1 to team Orange on a goal by Quinn Poscoe – by holding the Reds to a stalemate and then beating the Greens 1-0 to reach a semi final against the Oranges, which they won 2-1 with Vanterpool scoring a brace, whilst Myles Penn netted for the Oranges.

The winning coach was Jeffrey Demming for the Red Team, Chelsea Edwards was judged as MVP, Othneal Gillings Golden Boot, Akeem Paddy best goalkeeper, Chelsea Edwards best defender, and Christian Vanterpool best midfielder

In the other games played, Green played Orange to a 1 – 1 draw with Latriel Williams and Sam Potgieter both finding the net and Orange redeemed themselves by defeating the Green team 2-1 to capture the third-place position.

BVIFA Youth Festival a success

More than 140 boys and girls attend BVIFA’s August Youth Festival 2020

The BVIFA Executive led by President, Mr. Andy Bickerton and all the Youth Coaches were left in no doubt they are doing the right things after more than 140 boys and girls turned out for the Youth Festival held on Saturday and Sunday August 15 and 16, 2020 at East End / Long Look, Tortola.

The levels of interest and participation across two distinct age groups – those born between 2008 and 2011 and those born between 2003 and 2007 – also showed that the hard work done by the coaching staff to bring back the youths to a competitive environment where they showcased impressive technical ability, is paying dividends.

“It was great to see so many turn out,” commented Bickerton. “The progress being made after the lock down, the level of competition, the technical standards across both age groups are all very encouraging”

Bickerton was also pleased to see that lots of overseas based students were home taking part and was quick to congratulate all the coaches and staff involved, “Tinnie Percival, Wayne Phillips, Richie Morton, Javon Carty, “Left”, Cassandra Gregg, Jermaine Abrams, Morris Mark, Darren, Julianna, the General Secretary and her Assistant, Jahtoya Rodriquez”.

Notable performances also came on the field with Bickerton presenting awards to MVP, Luka Chalwell, Best Goalkeeper, Ollie Henderson, Best Defender, Quelani Nickie, Best Midfielder, Johari Lacey and Top Scorer, Denvin Jones.

Whilst all the youth programmes on Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke will be continuing [after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted], the BVIFA also plans to move forward with adding a Youth League to its player pathways.

“The level of interest and enthusiasm shown over the weekend means we can be even more optimistic about the success of the National Youth League which the BVIFA is launching in September,” concluded Bickerton.

BVI to face ‘tough’ group in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers

BVI drawn to play in Group C of the first round of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers for Qatar 2022

The Draw for the first round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying for Qatar 2022 took place in Zurich, Switzerland on August 19, 2020. The six highest ranked teams of were pre-seeded into groups A through F and revealed a number of exciting match-ups among the 30 teams.

The British Virgin Islands, led by 18-year-old Tyler Forbes, are in Group C and will look to rekindle the same fighting spirit they displayed in the CONCACAF Nations League Qualifiers. The BVI faces tough competition from Group C which includes Curacao, Guatemala, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Cuba.

“The team is very excited to play in this group especially with the talent we have and the growing bond we have together,” commented Forbes. “It won’t be easy, but we like a challenge and us underdogs we always seem to perform better like in the game against Martinique. I feel the BVI will be proud of us – and surprised too – when, hopefully, they get to see what we have to offer with some home games. After the hurricanes of 2017 and the Covid-19 pandemic, the team is hungry for success and ready to finally play in front of our home fans.”

BVIFA President, Andy Bickerton noted the World Cup Draw had thrown the BVI into a tough group and is hoping the pandemic won’t stop the opportunity of staging home games. “We have been drawn in a very strong group and have to hope that despite the COVID challenges we are able to play our home matches against Guatemala and Curacao in the BVI.”

Matches in the group are expected to take place from October 2020.

Full CONCACAF World Cup qualifying groups:

Group A: El Salvador, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, United States Virgin Islands
Group B: Canada, Suriname, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Aruba
Group C: Curacao, Guatemala, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba, British Virgin Islands
Group D: Panama, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Dominica, Anguilla

Islanders F.C. top National League

The Islanders F.C. returned to the top of the National League on Sunday, August 16 with a comfortable 3 – 0 victory over the defending champions, One Love F.C. at the Virgin Gorda Recreation Ground.

Ranalie Cain opened the scoring for the Islanders on the stroke of half-time from the penalty spot and then Devron Medica (59th min.) and Oswart Holder (65th) made sure of all 3 points padding out the score line, which not only saw their team leapfrog the F.C. back into first place, but also saw them level the goal difference between the two sides.

Playing the later game on the same pitch, the Wolues knew only a win would put them back to the league summit. However, they were thwarted by VG United, ultimately battling to a 2 – 2 draw, with the club second from bottom, but with a vociferous “home” crowd.

Noel Maxwell put the Wolues on their way, scoring in just the 7th minute, but then Sheldon Toney equalized in the 34th minute, before Marknique Williams put VG ahead in the 58th.

William Green calmed the Wolues nerves, netting the leveler in the 69th, but neither team could find a winner.

The Islanders are on 28 points and the Wolues 26, whilst the Sugar Boys are in 3rd place on 23 points, courtesy of a 2-0 win against Old Madrid F.C. with goals in each half by Andres Bailey (15th) and Rawl Hoyte (77th).

Upcoming schedule:

Sunday 23rd August

Rebels F.C. v One Caribbean F.C. East End / Long Look 4pm

Lion Heart F.C. v Islanders F.C. VG Rec. Ground 6pm

Sugar Boys F.C. v Panthers F.C. VG Rec. Ground 8pm

BVIFA to host Youth Festival Tournament

Hot on the heels of the successful BVI Football Association Women’s and Men’s Festival Cups, attention now turns to the Youth Festival Tournament for girls and boys scheduled for Saturday, August 15 and Sunday, August 16 at the National Stadium venue, East End / Long Look, Tortola.

BVIFA President, Mr. Andrew Bickerton and the Executive Committee along with Technical Director, Mr. Dan Neville and the coaching staf led by Tinnie Percival, have continued to focus on youth development plans geared towards inclusion of players across the Territory and have even been able to recently launch regular coaching sessions on Jost Van Dyke.

According to Neville, the Youth Festival is a key component in the BVIFA’s development plans: “It is a great way to get all the players back together again in a competitive environment for the first time since lockdown and the Festival will also act as a lead-in to the BVIFA’s Academy Youth League.”

The Youth Festival Tournament is split into two age groups with those born between 2008 and 2011 featuring on the Saturday, whilst those born between 2003 and 2007 play on the Sunday.

Both age groups will play in the same round robin format with the younger group having games of 20 minutes duration and the older group 25 minutes.

The BVIFA promises both days will be action packed and filled with fun as there will be a DJ, food, refreshments, trophies and lots of competitive football.