The Western Warriors Football Club, a licensed member of the Bahamas Football Association (BFA), fully supports a decision to postpone all matches for the youth and adult leagues in The Bahamas due to the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic. All matches have been postponed until further notice but the season has not been called off as yet.
In support of the decision of the BFA, the Western Warriors canceled all training for its members, predominantly in line with what has happened in sports in the country.
The impact on the young players, according to a report, has not been easy.
The under-13 (U13) boys team, composed of players from all over New Providence, were understandably disappointed. Club President Saskia D’Aguilar said: “While we are all committed to creating inspiring sporting opportunities for children, our primary concern, during this unprecedented crisis, is the health and safety of our players, their families and everyone in the community. The BFA definitely acted rapidly and decisively, in the best interest of the country.”
Western Warriors’ Head Coach Paul James added: “Our kids were having such an amazing year, so, it’s heartbreaking for the children to have to stop playing so close to the end of the season. Hopefully, remaining matches can be played, once the government gives its blessing.”
Up to the time of the stoppage of play, the under-13 boys team had played 16 games for the season, and were in first place in the BFA Youth League Boys U13 Group A Division. Since the season started in November 2019, they scored 56 goals and had only 13 scored against them. The top goal scorers for the season were McKenzie Chery (21 goals), Reuben Edgecombe (nine goals) and Jaxon Bethel (eight goals). Other key players this season were John Brize, Arayshio Green, Mathew Holst, Drexel McIntosh, Versean Lynes, DeAngelo Decius, Durai Adderley, Joshua Burrows, Jude Russell, Yvenelson Edmonde, and Reuben Bain.
The players and their families seem to be adjusting to the big changes in their weekly routines differently.
“The camaraderie and friendships developed among these 10 to 12-year-olTd boys, all from vastly different backgrounds, is truly inspiring,” said James Burrows, father of 11-year-old Joshua Burrows. He is encouraging his son to perform drills at home, and to stay in touch with his teammates on his iPad device.
Chery, a 12-year-old who is the top goal scorer in his age group, said: “I feel sad because I don’t get to see my friends and I want to play against other teams. Staying home all day is not easy, but I know we have to for now.”
Denali McCarthy, 10, is still connecting to football by practicing and enhancing skills at a park close to his home. Just as he would at weekly practices, he completes daily physical routines and drills instructed by his father, who happens to be an avid footballer.
Team Coach Sonny Francois, also a frequent member of The Bahamas Men’s National Grass and Beach Soccer Teams, is trying to keep the young players motivated with daily WhatsApp messages, encouraging them to stay fit at home. The coach also sends short soccer training videos that can be done individually by each player. However, he worries about the children, and hopes that the soccer season will be able to continue.
“The kids all just love soccer. They have such fun at training, and no one ever misses a session. Then, at games, all the boys support each other, and so many parents come to cheer on the kids. Of course, with that now gone from their lives, the kids are going to be missing their friends, the stimulating exercises, and the excitement of competing. It’s a challenging time, but we will all win this battle if we work together as a community,” he said.
The Western Warriors Football Club is generously sponsored by Bahamas Hot Mix. For information on the club, interested persons are asked to please visit the website www.westernwarriorsbahamas.com.