BVIFA Academy Youth League launched and underway

The BVI Football Association launched its Academy Youth league on Sunday, November 29, which will provide the Clubs that are now running teams at U13 and U17 a competitive platform to showcase their talents.

Several of the BVIFA’s member clubs are now running Youth Academies including – at U13 level – the Wolues FC, One Caribbean FC, Old Madrid FC, the Sugar Boys FC and VG Utd – and at U17 – One Love FC, VG Utd, One Caribbean FC, the Rebels FC and the Wolues FC.

On opening day, BVIFA Technical Director, Mr. Dan Neville commented that thanks should go to the coaching staff for making such an important part of the BVIFA’s vision come to fruition. “The Academy Youth League is vitally important to our overall football vision as the competitive element that will help in terms of building mass participation, producing players for our national teams and giving them something to train towards,” he said.

Also on hand for the opening round of fixtures was BVIFA President Mr. Andy Bickerton who, whilst urging the players to enjoy themselves, also reinforced the opportunities that are now available to those willing to put in hard work both academically and on the pitch. “These Youth Leagues are part of our four year strategy and what you need to know is that four youngsters are currently away on scholarships, so there is an opportunity for you if you want to progress in football. However, and most importantly, if you want to go away and combine football with your studies, then you need to be strong in your academics here as well as your football. Don’t leave your studies behind to pursue football, but combine both,” he said.

Mr. Bickerton also pointed out that the league will be going for a while, so he urged the young players to make it fun, not to forget that it’s not all about winning, work together as a team, support and encourage each other, and, most of all, to enjoy themselves.

Speaking on behalf of the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Mr. Eustace Freeman took the opportunity to commend the BVIFA, Neville and the coaches on their efforts, saying “The Youth League is a product of the BVIFA’s dedication to presenting quality developmental opportunities for the youth of the BVI. I would like to wish the organizers, teams, players and everyone involved in making it possible a safe and successful league.”

The first round of games played both on Virgin Gorda and at the BVIFA National Stadium venue in East End / Long Look featured the U13s and saw the Sugar Boys beat VG United 5-1 on goals from Audany Gangoo, Ethan Winchester, Kenroy William, Kyle Farrington and Shau’Mari Leonnard, with Qu’yl Billingy scoring VG’s consolation. Meanwhile the Panthers FC beat the Wolues FC 9-2 with goals from Christian Vanterpool, Lashawn Gibbs (2), Jaheem Bijai (3), Latrell Williams (2) and Myles Penn, whilst Charlie Potgeiter and Oakley Hodges netted for the Wolues.

Upcoming matches include the U17 teams of One Love United v VG United on Friday, December 4 and Old Madrid against One Caribbean Saturday, December 5. The U13 Panthers FC face VG Utd and the Wolues U13’s take on One Caribbean FC on Sunday, December 6.