BVI concedes CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier game to Cuba

It took a powerful Cuba team 70 minutes to finally break the hearts of the youthful Men’s National Team in a CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier at the Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores in Guatemala.

Having gone into the half time break at just a goal down, the BVI were still a threat in the second half, but then having spent long periods defending stoically, they were caught out as they changed formation and tactics looking to at least equalize and ultimately were overpowered in a 0-5 reversal.

“For 65 plus minutes we were reasonably comfortable and defended our goal well,” stated Interim Head Coach, Dan Neville. “At one-nil down you have to make changes and try to get a goal, unfortunately we got picked off on the counter by some good moments of quality from Cuba and some moments we’ll be disappointed by. “

Due to injuries and non-availability, several younger players had the opportunity to make debuts and also gain some valuable playing time, which BVIFA President, Andy Bickerton, saw as a positive despite the result. ”It’s a very young team and obviously they’re still learning,” he noted. “At times in the game you could see that they haven’t yet learned how to keep possession of the ball when they are transitioning from defence into attack. However as time goes along they will get more experience and become more comfortable in themselves and then we won’t be under so much pressure. We defended well and, as Coach says, it was only when we actually changed our line up to try and chase the game that we conceded more goals.”

Next up for the team is another World Cup Qualifier against Curacao, which will also be hosted by the Guatemala Football Federation and played on Saturday 5th June at the Estadio Del Trebol in Guatemala City with a kick-off time at 5pm EST.

BVIFA signs MoU with HLSCC to develop capacity in sports management and coaching

L-R: Mrs. Juliana Luke, BVIFA Gen Sec., Mr. Andy Bickerton, BVIFA President, Dr. Richard Georges PhD , President of HLSCC, Mr. Dan Neville, BVIFA Technical Director at the signing of a 3-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to develop local capacity in sports management and coaching. .Photo: BVIFA

The BVI Football Association and the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College (HLSCC) have formed a strategic partnership, with the signing of a 3-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to develop local capacity in sports management and coaching.

“This relationship will allow for the professional development of FA members and all stakeholders,” commented BVIFA President Mr. Andy Bickerton, who signed the MOU along with Dr. Richard Georges PhD, President of HLSCC.

Some of the specific areas will be the use of HLSCC facilities by the BVIFA for training purposes, use of the BVIFA’s facilities by the college for shared vision activities and the BVIFA providing regional and international contacts of interest to the college.

“The College and the BVIFA have been talking and working together for a number of years,” said Georges. “This Memorandum of Understanding formalizes this collaborative relationship while laying a foundation for more ambitious projects in the future.”

The use of the HLSCC campus to provide training facilities will further enhance the BVIFA’s ambitions to provide top class education programmes for its coaches and, according to BVIFA Technical Director, Dan Neville, is another step to add to the recent partnership with the International Soccer Science and Performance Federation.

“We are delighted to be working in conjunction with college to deliver high quality live and online coaching courses in the BVI and ultimately regionally. HLSCC’s outstanding facilities and infrastructure will complement our coaching courses perfectly to deliver a high standard of sports education both locally and even regionally,” said Neville.

The BVIFA is also developing its own accredited foundation level courses to act as springboards into CONCACAF level programmes.

Islanders FC claim 8th BVIFA National League Title

Islanders FC claim 8th BVIFA National League title after defeating Old Madrid FC 3-1 on Dec, 6 2020. Photo: BVIFA

The Islanders FC claimed their eighth National League title with a 3-1 win against Old Madrid FC on Sunday 6th December, 2020 at the BVI Football Association’s new stadium venue in East End / Long Look.

According to player / coach of the Islanders, Andy Davis, his team went into the game fully prepared and understanding what a win would mean. “We were able to create chances and capitalize on them despite making a few mistakes,” he commented. “We did not take Old Madrid lightly as we knew they can cause upsets, but the guys stuck to their task, took the game to Old Madrid and scored the goals for a well fought victory.

Going a goal down did not help the nerves much, but captain Ranalie Cains cancelled out Fitzroy Daley’s 15th minute opener in the 26th minute with both goals coming from the penalty spot. “This game was a crucial one and we had to come out victorious,” said Cains.

Sheldon Harry then put the Islanders ahead in the 35th minute, but it was not until the 72nd minute when Rohan Lennon made it 3-1 that the Islanders settled the title race. “I knew we would win the championship, although it was a very tight race because we have a group of young and experienced talented players combined together to form a good team.” noted Cains.

“It’s a good feeling winning the league after missing out the previous year,” confirmed Davis. “The title gives the younger players in the team the chance to be part of a winning culture that makes them fight even harder during every game. The tournament has been incredibly competitive with a number of teams showing great potential and developing young players and we now set our sights on next season where we can step up our game and hoping other teams follow suit.”

BVIFA president, Mr. Andy Bickerton was quick to applaud title winners. “Congratulations go to the Islanders on securing another National League Championship. They played exciting, attacking football and deserved their success. They can now look forward to their opportunity to compete in the Caribbean Club Championship in 2021,” he said.

Wolues captain, Philip Nelson was also quick to congratulate the Islanders on holding off his team’s challenge for the Championship. “It was disappointing to come so close, but it wasn’t to be. The Islanders were the more consistent team throughout the year, and we congratulate them as worthy winners. We are already looking forward to battling again next season.” he warned.

Nelson’s comments came immediately after seeing his team romp to a 5-0 rout of One Love FC. “A great performance from start to finish and we were happy to secure second. We managed to take the lead in the first minute and never looked back with all the lads being fully committed to finishing the season the right way. One Love battled well throughout, but the quality of chances created was the ultimate difference,” said Nelson.

The Wolues’ goals came from Nelson, who scored from the penalty spot in the 4th minute, Ian Chambers, who scored twice in 29th and 52nd minutes, Noel Maxwell in the 32nd and Chester James in the 82nd.

In other results, the Sugar Boys FC thumped the Rebels FC 4-0 on goals from Jorge Gonzalez (24th), Terence Nanton (42nd) and Derrol Redhead (83rd and 89th), and Lion Heart FC drew 3-3 with the Panthers FC with Necarious Watt (28th), Dwayne Smith (34th) and Sheldon Brown (79th) all on target for Lion Heart, whilst Nigel Sanderson (45th and 75th) and Vanrick Depesche (50th) replied for the Panthers.

Wins for Wolues FC, Sugar Boys FC and One Love FC in BVIFA National League

Johnathon Gonzalez after scoring VG United’s late equalizer against the Rebels FC. Photo: BVIFA

As the BVI Football Association’s National League continued over the weekend, the Wolues FC smashed eight goals past One Caribbean, VG United left it late to salvage a point against the Rebels FC and there were also wins for the Sugar Boys FC and One Love FC.

The Wolues FC were three goals to the good against One Caribbean FC at the National Stadium venue, East End / Long Look, inside the first seven minutes following a brace from Ian Chambers and the first of what turned out to be a Noel Maxwell hattrick.

Johnny Bissainthe gave One Caribbean a glimmer of hope in the 17th minute and at half time the score remained 3-1.

Luca Reich then scored in the 62nd and 72nd minutes to put the game and the points beyond doubt , and, although Erol Van Der Meulen scored a second for One Caribbean from the penalty spot in the 75th to make it 5-2, Maxwell notched his second and third goals in the 88th and 89th minutes respectively before Christopher Farmer made it 8-2 in added time at the end.

Meanwhile, the most dramatic game of the weekend unfolded over at the Virgin Gorda Recreation Ground, where VG United found themselves two goals down against the Rebels after Curtly Peters converted a 15th minute penalty kick and Austin Prentice doubled the lead in the 34th. However Marknique Williams pulled one back in the 39th minute and then after a dogged and determined display VG finally equalized in front of a large partisan crowd when Johnathon Gonzalez slid the ball home in the 6th minute of added time to earn a point.

The Sugar Boys FC also didn’t disappoint their home fans as they had no problem in overcoming Lion Heart FC 2-0 although it took an own goal in the 29th minute to set them on their way, before Rolland Roberts made sure of the win, scoring the second goal in the 72nd minute.

One Love United FC also had a comfortable win, beating the Panthers FC 4-1 with four first-half goals from Rushedo Robinson, Richard Morgan, Mauricio Guevara Villanueva and Carl Stewart almost settling the match before it began and Vanrick Depesche scoring the Panthers’ only goal half way through the second half.

Old Madrid FC play the Wolues FC at the East End / Long Look National Stadium on Saturday, November 21 with a 4.0pm kick off, whilst on Sunday November 22, the Rebels FC face Lion Heart FC, also at East End / Long Look at 4.00pm. Over on Virgin Gorda on the same Sunday, the Sugar Boys FC take on One Caribbean FC at 5.45pm and then One Love United FC clash with Virgin Gorda United FC AT 8.00pm.

BVIFA collaborates with FA in continued coach education programme

The BVI Football Association Technical Director, Dan Neville continued to provide further high level additional learning opportunities to local coaches when he recently held the second part of the BVIFA’s Coach Education Programme, which, in a first for the Territory, was broadcast in conjunction with the English Football Association (the FA).

Grassroots champion and Training Ground Guru, Les Howie, senior lead in the FA Education Department, former professional footballer, Ben Futcher, the FA Youth Coach Developer and the FA’s National Coach Development Manager, Tony McCallum all made appearances by video link, joining local coaches Thomas Albert, Richie Morton, Anna French, Javon Carty, Morris Mark, Jermain Abrams and “Tinnie” Percival for the virtual seminar covering match analysis and developing game understanding.

“The coach education workshops have been a great opportunity to expand my understanding of the game and my role as a coach,” noted French who Coaches on Virgin Gorda and works with the Women’s National Squads.

“With guidance from coach education specialists, participants analyzed a variety of game situations and discussed the factors involved and what strategies we could employ.

“We were also given the opportunity to prepare a short presentation based on a game scenario which was critiqued by a panel of experts and our peers,” added French. “Overall, it was a great experience and I look forward to more opportunities to learn and grow as a coach.”

Abrams, also based on Virgin Gorda, said the seminar “was very informative and interactive and to be able to say what you would have done during game play scenarios and then to have that analysed and tweaked by such high quality coaches really helped. These sorts of events will take our coaching to another level.”

Covid protocols allowing, the next stage will be live workshops and the holding of CONCACAF coaching courses.

Tortola U15s and U17s win BVIFA Talent BVI

Tortola U15s and U17s emerged victorious after the second legs of the BVI Football Association’s Talent BVI Inter Center games on Saturday, November 7 at the Virgin Gorda Recreation Ground.

Both games fulfilled all the hype and expectation as first the very well-prepared VG U15 team gave their Tortola counterparts a few nervous moments in a much more competitive game before losing 1-3 (2-6 on aggregate over both legs).

Rush Broderick, with two goals and Omari Simmonds were finally able to ensure the result went the way of Tortola, but Emmanuel Etienne’s goal kept his team in with a chance right to the end.

The VG U17s had also done their homework having lost the first leg 2-1, by virtue of their away goal and needed just a 1-0 win at home to be victorious in the tie.

However, despite restricting Tortola to very few chances, they were unable to capitalize on the opportunities they created, and an extremely competitive game ended in stalemate at 0-0. Tortola grabbed the bragging rights, winning 2-1 on aggregate.

According to Coach Tinnie Percival, “it was good to see how well the VG teams looked tactically and technically and they had obviously put in a lot of hard work. The U15 game was much closer than the score line suggested and both the U17s teams played with good purpose and determination. The game could have gone either way, with chances being missed at both ends from start to finish.”

Percival concluded that all teams have shown good progress and encouraged both players and coaches to continue putting in the work. The sentiments were echoed by the BVIFA Technical Director, Mr. Dan Neville, who noted that it was great to see the program back up and running following a break during lockdown.

“Talent BVI is our national centre to define, nurture and develop talented players on the islands,” said Neville. “It bridges the gap between grass roots football and national team selection and is a vital component of our football strategy. These games marked the restart of the program to assess where players were in their journey and there were some great performances all round which is pleasing.”

2020/21 Women’s Futsal League underway

With much deserved fanfare and celebration the BVI Football Association launched its 2020/21 Women’s Futsal League at Cedar School on Saturday, October 31 and was rewarded by a tantalizing game of football between two evenly matched teams, which was highlighted by a hat trick from Darci Reich and saw the Wolues beat VG Utd 6-2.

BVIFA Executive member in charge of Women’s Football, Mrs. Loralee Walters-Abrams, 1st Vice President, Mr. Avanell Morton, 2nd Vice President, Mr. Aubrey Liburd, FA Treasurer, Mr. Kenrick Grant and Mr. Eustace Freeman, representing the Department of Youth Affairs and Sports were all on hand to welcome the clubs and also to compliment the hard work of the coaches and event organisers that had gone into making the League possible.

“Women’s Football has been absent for a while,” commented Grant. “But after all the things that have taken place it is nice to see all the teams that are ready to take part and over the coming months this participation will only get bigger.”

Playing two 25-minute halves, the action was fast, furious and full of action-packed excitement with both teams looking to gain the technical and tactical advantage.

VG Utd went ahead on a goal by Kezia Gumbs which was cancelled out by Zolita Bamford, but it was Reich who provided that little bit of magic that turned the game in favour of the Wolues, scoring a quick fire brace to make it 3-1.

Gabrielle Jermain made it 4-1 to the Wolues before Reich completed her hat trick. Gumbs then scored her second to make it 5-2, but any chance of a VG comeback was snuffed out by Tola Broderick who made it 6-2.

BVIFA President, Mr. Andy Bickerton was unable to attend due to Covid 19 restrictions but was very proud of the work carried out by the coaching and technical staff in getting the competition off the ground. “Whilst definitely long overdue, the patience of our women players and their dedication to the sport is a wonderful indication that the League will be just the start of many things to come. The coaches and technical staff are working tirelessly to get the women to a high level of play, and it won’t be long before the BVIFA can select a national team to be competitive in the region,” said Bickerton.

The Panthers FC will play the Avengers FC with a 4.30pm kick off on Saturday, November 7 at Cedar School.

Talent BVI Elite Football Programme progresses with inter island matches

Talent BVI Elite Football programme progresses with matches between Virgin Gorda and Tortola on October 24, 2020. Photo: BVIFA

In trying to provide realistic game time for the U15 and U17 players in the BVI and as part of its ongoing Talent BVI Elite Football Programme, the BVI Football Association organized a series of matches between Virgin Gorda and Tortola based squads, on Saturday 24th October, 2020.

The first legs of the games were played at the national stadium venue in East End / Long Look and saw Tortola teams emerge victorious.

The U15’s played first, and Tortola won 3-1 with goals coming from Joharie Lacey, who opened the scoring on an assist by DeAndre Rogers. Rogers went on to score twice on assists from Lacey and Adrian Padilla, whilst Sammy Guilford was the scorer of the lone goal for Virgin Gorda.

The U17 game that followed shortly after was keenly contested with lots of good combination passing from both teams. Sheldon Harry broke the deadlock 5 minutes into the second half with a close-range effort and Miles Creque extended Tortola’s lead, breaking through the defense and slotting home past the keeper. Virgin Gorda pulled it back to 2-1 with the goal of the game coming from the boot of Kimbo Deming, who let fly from fully 25 yards out.

Virgin Gorda were unable to find the equalizer and the game ended at 2-1 but will take heart from their performance as the teams head back to Virgin Gorda for the second legs on October 31st.

According to Coach Tinnie Percival “Both games were played in good spirit but were extremely competitive. The kids showed good skills and positive attitudes. With constant training and regular games, I can only see these kids getting better and stronger.”

The BVIFA’s Talent BVI programme is designed to bridge the gap between grass roots football and national team training.

Players born between 2008 and 2003 who show a talent to potentially play in national teams are invited into the Talent BVI programme so they can develop and the BVIFA can continue to monitor their progress ahead of potential national team age group selection

The programme consists of two centres, one on Tortola and one on Virgin Gorda, with training taking place on a Saturday afternoon in Tortola and Saturday morning on Virgin Gorda.

For more information, contact the BVIFA at bvigensec2@gmail.com.

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.