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.

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.

Sugar Boys are BVIFA Festival Cup Champs!

The Sugar Boys F.C. were crowned as BVIFA Festival Cup Champions on August 4, 2020

The Sugar Boys F.C. were crowned as BVIFA Festival Cup Champions on Tuesday, August 4, 2020 after MVP, Derol Redhead scored a winner late in the first half of a 2 – 1 defeat of Lion Heart F.C. at the East End / Long Look National Stadium venue.

Although the newcomers, Lion Heat, were playing in their first ever final, they matched the Sugar Boys from Virgin Gorda virtually kick for kick and the two sides were inseparable after Sheldon Brown equalized for Lion Heart in the thirteenth minute, following Terrence Nanton’s tenth minute opener.

However you can never discount the effect Redhead can have on a game and – not for the first time – he popped up big when it mattered most and netted the go ahead goal and what proved to be the winner.

“It means a lot,” said Redhead, whose goal also earned him a share of the Golden Boot Trophy along with team mate Norman Hernandez.

The second half saw no further goals and Lion Heart skipper Dwayne Smith was left to rue not putting the Sugar Boys under more pressure, paying too much respect early, losing the midfield battle and ultimately the game.

BVIFA President, Mr. Andy Bickerton presented the awards, which apart from the Trophy and a winner’s check for 4000 dollars to the Sugar Boys, also included a Runners Up check for 2,000 dollars to Lion Heart. The Fair Play Trophy was claimed by the Sugar Boys and the Golden Glove Trophy, which went to Lindell Williams.

The Sugar Boys claimed their spot in the last four following a 4 – 1 win against Old Madrid F.C. courtesy of a hat trick from Derol Redhead (26’, 36’, 79’) and Akeem Hendrickson, who scored in the eightieth minute. Fitzroy Daley netted for Old Madrid.

Their opponents in the last four, One Love, had a much sterner test to come through as VG United took them all the way to a penalty shoot-out, after the match ended 1 – 1. However, Mauricio Guevara Villanueva held his nerve to fire his team into the semi, scoring the decisive penalty in a 3 – 2 win.

Lion Heart found themselves 1 – 0 down to the Wolues, but Shevaughn Thomas equalized in the forty fifth minute, before adding a second to put Lion Heart on the way to the last four and the win was confirmed as Oshane Ingram made it 3 – 1 at the death.

A brace of goals by Jean Charles Jnr. either side of a strike by Julian Davidson was enough for One Caribbean to secure their place, beating The Rebels F.C 2 – 1.

The first semi was scheduled for the National Stadium venue at East End / Long Look between the Sugar Boys and One Love at 4pm, whilst semi final number 2 featuring One Caribbean and Lion Heart was on the Virgin Gorda Recreation Ground at 6pm.

Pure Trouble comes out top in BVIFA Women’s Festival Cup

Pure Trouble, captained by Tinia Van-Zoost, came out on top of the points table after winning all three games in the BVIFA Women’s Festival Cup held at the East End / Long Look Stadium, Tortola on August 2, 2020.

The BVIFA Women’s Festival Cup was staged at the East End / Long Look Stadium on Sunday, August 2 with four teams participating in a round robin tournament.

Pure Trouble, captained by Tinia Van-Zoost, came out on top of the points table after winning all three games, with 9 points. Fire, captained by Ariel Mohamed, was second with 6 points. Purple Rain , captained by Joi-Ann Thomas, came third with 3 points and Pink Panthers placed fourth.

Individual awards went to Decima Lambert as Best Goalkeeper, Chelsea Edwards for Best Young Player, Casandra Gregg as Golden Lady, Shevonne Vanterpool as Golden Boot and Van Zoost as MVP.

Recently re-appointed BVIFA President, Mr. Andy Bickerton was on hand to present the trophies and was pleased with the turn out and complimented all those involved: “It was an excellent start to the revitalization of Women’s Football in the BVI. Coaches Anna French and Wayne Phillip are to be congratulated on the high level of technical ability displayed by all of the women.”

In the first match, Purple Rain defeated Fire 1 – 0 in a penalty shootout, with Mohamed the lone scorer, whilst in the next game Pure Trouble defeated Pink Panthers 3 – 2, also, in a penalty shootout after the match ended in a 1 – 1 tie. Vanterpool scored for Pure Trouble and French equalized for the Pink Panthers in regulation time before Vanterpool, Van-Zoost, and Morgan Creque all converted their penalties to give Pure Trouble the win. 

Purple Rain got their second win by defeating Pink Panthers 2 – 0 with Jacintha Weeks and Darci Reich on the scoresheet. Pure Trouble then defeated Fire 1 – 0 with Vanterpool scoring again. In the penultimate game, Pure Trouble kept their undefeated record intact when Kiara Woodley scored a late equalizer against Purple Rain, who had gone ahead through Kara Lewis. However, the momentum turned in the favour of Pure Trouble who went on to capture the win in the ensuing penalty shootout 2 – 1. 

The last match of the day saw Fire and Pink Panthers play to a 1 – 1 draw with goals from Murcella Gordon and French. 

BVIFA plans a weekend of Football Festivals

The BVIFA is promising an August holiday weekend full of football, Festival Style, at its National Stadium venue in East End / Long Look from August 1 – 4, 2020.

Although the Men’s Festival Cup kicks the action off on Saturday, August 1, full attention will be on the Women’s Festival Cup, scheduled for Sunday, August 2, as newly appointed Head Coaches, Wayne Phillips and Anna French look to revitalize and showcase women’s football within the BVI.

According to French, “the goal of the event is to revitalize and showcase women’s football within the BVI, identify and recruit talented players for the national program, and boost excitement for the upcoming women’s club competition.”

The Women’s Festival Cup will be run as a one-day round robin-style five-a-side tournament featuring 4 teams that will be drafted by national coaches on the morning of the event. Check-in and warmups will begin from 11:30 am with the first matches kicking off at 1pm. Round-robin games of 20 minutes (10 minutes each half) will be played throughout the day and the final match kick-off is at 3:30.

Players of all skill levels are highly encouraged to attend and participate. Supporters are welcomed but please note that social distancing measures will be enforced.

Lorrelle Walters-Abrams is the BVIFA Executive Member responsible for Women’s football and she noted, “one of the BVIFA’s strategic plans is to develop and promote Women’s football in the territory and get the Clubs more actively involved. The importance of Women’s football is not only recognizable, but it can also bring positive change and impact the Territory. Knowing we are a small country in comparison to our Caribbean neighbors, it is important to our well being both physically and mentally. With the support of the BVIFA Executive body and Technical staff along with strong leadership of Technical Director, Dan Neville, we will achieve our goals”

“We are all really looking forward to August 2 when we host the Women’s Festival Cup,” noted Neville. “I’m delighted with the growth of the women’s program over the last 12 months. Wayne and Anna have grown the numbers week-on-week and Lorrelle has played a key part in the program in terms of energy and ideas.”

Neville added that the BVIFA are also in advanced preparations and talks with the National League clubs to get a Women’s National League started in September.

There is also a Men’s Festival Cup over the Bank Holiday weekend, with games scheduled for East End / Long Look as well as Virgin Gorda.

In the first round the Wolues will face Lion Heart, at the National Stadium, East END / Long Look (4pm) whilst over on Virgin Gorda, the Panthers are up against the Rebels at 6pm and then the Islanders take on the Sugar Boys at 8pm.

Teams set for BDO Primary School League finals

By BVI Football Association

Cedar Green beat First Impressions 1-0 to reach the BDO U7 Final. Photo: BVIFA

Cedar Green beat First Impressions 1-0 to reach the BDO U7 Final. Photo: BVIFA

The semifinals of the BDO Primary School League Age Groups proved action packed intense and dramatic as teams fought for a place in the showcase finals on March 22nd, as did the Avanell “Clarky” Morton Senior Boys Cup Final.

First Up, in the U7’s, an Ethan Singh goal settled the game for Cedar Green against First Impressions and they move onto face Montessori, who overcame Bregado Flax, 2-0, with goals from Lochlan Geyser and Charlie Potgeiter.

In the U9’s, an early strike from Re’Mauri Walters put Bregado Flax in the driving seat against Cedar Green and with further strikes coming from Kyle Farrington and Quyle Billingy, their passage into the Final was assured with a 3-0 score line.

Their opponents in that final will be Althea Scatliffe Primary, who beat First Impressions, 2-1, with the winner scored by Othniel Gillings after Mario Carter’s opener had been cancelled out by Orrit Kenedy.

The U12 semifinal between Cedar Green and Cedar White turned into a gladiatorial affair and was ultimately settled by a goal from Alex Salter and then in the dying moments, Azarni Callwood, who made it 2-0 with a scorching drive.

They will be facing Bregado Flax in the Final, after a Jaden Abrams penalty broke the deadlock against ASPS.

In the High School round up, Bregado Flax Senior Boys also had much success in winning the inaugural Avanell “Clarky” Morton Cup, 3-1, on home turf against Elmore Stout High School.

Tyrique Gardener, Daniel Gilford and Kemron Tillack all scored for BFEC, whilst Marcus Butler fired home a late consolation for ESHS.

In the Open High School Girls League it has come down to a two-horse race with Bregado Flax facing Cedar School on Saturday 11th March, 2017, knowing any result other than defeat will give the championship.

However, if Cedar win, then they will go to a game with St Georges Girls, with another victory handing them the title on goal difference from BFEC.

Islanders F.C. are 2016/17 National League Champions

By BVI Football Association

Kevin Fisher gets his head to the ball for the Islanders against Sugar Boys. Photo: BVIFA

Kevin Fisher gets his head to the ball for the Islanders against Sugar Boys. Photo: BVIFA

The Islanders F.C duly went through the 2016/17 National League season undefeated with a 2-0 victory against the Sugar Boys, who finished second, whilst the Rebels claimed third place with a 1-0 win over One Love

The Golden Boot Award was claimed by Kevin Fisher who scored twice in the Islanders win, taking advantage of goal keeping errors on both occasions, to reach 13 for the season, leaving both Mohammed Kachour and Richard Morgan, who failed to find the net on the final day of the National League, for Sugar Boys and One Love respectively, on 11 goals, in joint second.

At the other end of the table, the Panthers beat VG United, 4-0, on two goals by Phillip Graham, a candidate for National League Youth Player of the Year and further goals from Prevell Asson and Wayne Phillip.

The Wolues finished in 5th place with an emphatic 4-1 scoreline in their match with Old Madrid, with Xavier Gili, Giovanni Di Bliaise and Rory Greenan, twice, all finding the net.

The Presentations of Awards for the National League will take place at the end of the Presidents Cup Final, this coming Sunday February 12th at the A.O. Shirley Ground

The Top Four will be contesting the competition, with the Islanders facing One Love in the first Semi Final, whilst the Rebels take on the Sugar Boys in the second semi final.

Both games are scheduled for Saturday 11th February on the A.O. Shirley Ground at 5pm and 7pm respectively.

Kavon Troy Ceasar named to top 15 Young Caribbean Football Players

By BVI Football Association

Troy Ceasar playing for Andrew College, Cuthbert, GA. Photo: Provided

Troy Ceasar playing for Andrew College, Cuthbert, GA. Photo: Provided

A shining example of the BVI Football Association’s Youth Development Programmes, 22 year old Kavon Troy Ceasar rounded out a successful 2016 with a nomination to the Caribbean Young Stars Awards.

With one last semester to go of his two year stint at Andrew College, Georgia, USA, 22 year old Troy Ceasar has already begun the process of looking at his next step, tapping into his organisational skills and focus which have helped him to progress in both his life and the sport he loves, football.

Ceasar has been fantastically supported by his parents during his stay at college. He has also received funding from the BVIFA’s Scholarship programme which was launched by the association’s president, Mr. Andy Bickerton some five years ago and which already has provided academic opportunity to over half a dozen male and female soccer players.

A product of the Football Associations Youth Development and the School Leagues programmes, Ceasar was most recently rewarded with a pick on the Caribbean Football Young Stars awards, 2016, in which 15 young players from around the Region were nominated by Coaches and Writers.

“when I first saw I was included on the list of the top 15 Caribbean youth players a tear came to my eye,” noted Ceasar. “I wasn’t expecting it at all, but thanked God for the selection and my Coaches.”

To make the list, Ceasar had to be under 23 years of age and born in the Caribbean as well as have his performances for college, where he has already received All Region Honours, Club and Country closely followed throughout 2016.

His coach at Andrew’s, Rudy Roediger reports that Ceasar has a “top speed of over 20 miles an hour, is skillful with the ball with a bit of flair and has learned to use both feet. He completes roughly 80% of his passes and steps out of the defensive line with awareness and a will to win the ball. He wins 90% of his aerial duels with his 38 inch verticals and is a very versatile player.”

Ceasar said that being at Andrew College opened his eyes to education and to football. “The systems they utilise for both have showed me how to learn and appreciate my talents. I learned several things that people from the Caribbean shouldn’t just expect to happen, but what you can achieve through hard work,” said Ceasar. “The playing style of soccer was different at first but the system – to play from the back and have more confidence – helped my game and showed me I could really compete with other players from around the world.”

Ceasar, a very humble and honest young man, also heaped praise on the coaches he worked with coming up through the system in the Virgin Islands. “I have to thank Cassandra Gregg who not only bought me my first pair of boots, but gave me the opportunity to play in the Primary School league with Willard Wheatley, even though I was attending Francis Lettsome who didn’t have a team,” he explained. “From there Vincent Samuel, the then Development Coach at the BVIFA and my club coach at the Ballstars, also helped me a lot technically as has the current national coach, Avondale Williams.”

Ceasar made his international debut at the age of 16 in a tournament in the Dominican Republic. “The national team was training to go to Santo Domingo and, luckily for me, I had a BVI Passport and so was selected as FIFA had just introduced a new ruling on eligibility. We lost both games in the tournament, but it was a great experience.”

He was made captain in a Caribbean Cup match against St Vincent in 2016. “I was just handed the Captain’s band. I was in shock, but honoured and very happy to receive it. Becoming captain gave me more responsibility and leadership skills, which also helped me once I became the college team captain.”

Ceasar has some great words of advice for the upcoming younger players looking to follow in his footsteps. “Put God first, then discipline. A lot of discipline and a lot of hard work – not just in your game but also in your school work. If you get to college the only way you can get to play is by doing your school work. Off the pitch, work hard and the coaches will always give you a chance.”

Ceasar is currently studying computer programming and business administration and will continue to do so when he finally decides on which of his offers he takes up.

A supporter of the English premier league team, Chelsea, Ceasar recommends all young players to watch as many games on TV or live as they can so they have a better understanding of the game and get better themselves by emulating their heroes. He also suggests youths always train and play as best as they can, because they never know who is watching.

“Most of the Caribbean countries have youth teams and they all need to get more playing time and exposure, whether as a team or by attending academies around the world. A lot more competition for the youths improves the standard and gives opportunity to the players.”

One day Ceasar would like to make it as a pro player and sees college as a great way of achieving that goal.

BVIFA Men’s National League update

By BVIFA

Richard Morgan netted twice in the 10-0 win for One Love against VG Utd Photo: BVIFA

Richard Morgan netted twice in the 10-0 win for One Love against VG Utd Photo: BVIFA

One Love F.C. reignited their season with a double digit win against VG Utd and the Sugar Boys dented the aspirations of the Rebels with a 5-1 victory as the National League continued on the weekend.

The timing of the fixture against bottom of the table, VG Utd was perfect for One Love, who have had a disappointing season by their usual high standards, but were able to help themselves to a 10-0 demolition of the shorthanded visitors.

The pre-Christmas presents came early and often, gift wrapped and hand delivered from the 9th minute when Trevor Ellis fired home, beating the keeper at his near post. Carl Stewart scored the first of what was to become a hat trick in the 22nd minute and further strikes before the break came from Damien Morgan and Oshane Rose.

Richard Morgan got in on the act with a second half brace as did Andre Thomas, before Stewart completed his hat trick, making the final score 10-0.

The Sugar Boys then cemented their second place in the standings with a comprehensive 5-1 win over the Rebels, who suffered their second successive defeat to teams in the top four.

Derol Redhead got a frantic opening few minutes going with a goal in the 4th minute, which was negated by Michael Baptichon’s penalty in the 11th minute, before Redhead put the Sugar Boys back ahead less than a minute later and Mohamed Kaschour made it 3-1 in the 17th minute.

Terrance Nanton increased the lead with a goal in the 79th minute and Akeem Hendrikson rounded out the 5-1 win with a goal in the 84th.

On Sunday, the Panthers dreadful start to the campaign continued unabated as they had no answer to a penalty kick in each half successfully converted by the Leagues top scorer, Kenmore Peters and lost 2-0 to Old Madrid.

Digicel Centre of Excellence closes for summer with gala performance

By BVI Football Association

Digicel Centre of Excellence 2016 participants. Photo: BVIFA

Digicel Centre of Excellence 2016 participants. Photo: BVIFA

The participants of the Digicel Centre of Excellence from both Virgin Gorda and Tortola, put on a gala performance in front of coaches, peers, family and friends on Saturday at the Millicent Mercer Playing Field in Baughers Bay as the programme closed for summer.

The various age groups from Under 7’s right through to Under 17’s, Boys and Girls, showed off their newly honed technical skills and teamwork tactical plays in small sided games and each was viewed with appreciation from all those braving the hot sun.

Head coach of the Virgin Gorda Centre of Excellence, Thomas Albert, was very enthused by what he saw on the day and also from what he seen over the course of the programme this year.  “20 – 25 kids have come out on a regular basis and I have seen a lot of progress, even more so today, when I see the players I have worked with doing so well with their Tortola counterparts. The support of Digicel has been great as have the efforts of all the coaches and parents. Together we can show the world what having Digicel as Sponsors means to the F.A. and how they are supporting our youths.”

In the years to come, Albert believes that those with responsibility for selecting national teams are going to have a lot of problems. “In the next two to three years there will be a lot of talented players out there. The Under 13’s, especially are looking very good and even though the girls are now in a separate programme in preparation for a regional tournament, they too are getting better and better.”

Albert also believes that as more and more girls are becoming interested in playing and are also improving technically, it is time to plan separate leagues for them. “The Women’s League has created a pathway all the way from grassroots to the top levels of senior national teams and we have looked at the U9’s and U13’s and how to get them playing competitive leagues amongst themselves, to further improve the standards. I believe we can do it and, with the support of Digicel in the Centre of Excellence, have already seen increased participation and interest.”

The Digicel Centre of Excellence has already produced dividends at U13 level, when a team came back from a tournament in St Maarten, unbeaten but in third place, following a penalty shoot out loss and still the best performance of any team the Association had sent previously.

As F.A. President, Andy Bickerton explained to the participants as he thanked Digicel for its support of the Centre, the next focus is on U17 Boys. “We are delighted to have Digicel on board and today the boys and girls were able to showcase the progress being made with constant high level coaching. What was also important was that the U17 boys were here and they are off to a CONCACAF Championship Qualifier in Suriname at the end of July. They are a good example to the younger players as to what can be experienced and achieved through playing football. Peers are very important to help develop and encourage youngsters in any sport and that’s why I wanted to make sure the U17 were recognized and the younger ones who go to the same schools and live in the same areas realize that the opportunity of flying off to tournaments is there for all of them one day.”

Mr. Bickerton also commented that there was much to look forward to in Football with the new stadium getting closer and closer and how important the relationship is with Digicel. “The importance of the partnership with Digicel is obvious today and they should feel proud of what they are helping to create with the development of our youths. When we start playing on the Astro in East End, things will get even better, as the surface will enable the youths to get even better technically and we hope the partnership with Digicel will be a long term one.”