After his first season at Darlington School’s Soccer Academy was cut short due to the presence of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bahamian junior soccer player Elijah Mitchell is looking forward to the completion of this season.
Mitchell plays for the under-19 team for the academy and is back in Rome, Georgia, as their season resumes in two weeks. After playing as a wing back earlier in the season, before the Christmas break, he was moved to play the left wing position.
“I enjoy playing the left wing position,” Mitchell said. “I think it is my most natural position. I love playing wing back but as a left wing, I am able to cut inside, shoot and score goals and get some assists. I look forward to playing it more when I go back to continue the season.”
Mitchell’s team currently sports an 8-2-1 win/draw/loss record. In addition to those games, Mitchell was also able to play in a couple of college showcases coming down to the end of 2020. He has two college showcases coming up – one at the end of January in Atlanta, Georgia and the other one will be the following week in Greensboro, North Carolina. He returned home in March 2020 and went back to school in August 2020.
He has a few National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) schools on his mind post high school such as Wofford College and Davidson College.
The 17-year-old said it was not difficult playing the game he loves under the COVID-19 protocols, but added that it was a bit different.
“It was not something that I was used to, like having to wear a mask going to the games. Also, there was the inability to socialize with outsiders because once you go to the game, you just play and then you head back to campus. In terms of adjusting, I think that the academy as a whole did very well. I think that within the four months, we only had one positive test,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell was home in New Providence this past Christmas. Instead of hanging out and relaxing, he said he was training two times per day or whenever he could. He said he was working on his overall fitness, technique and strength. When the parks reopened, he trained whenever it was possible. He said he is grateful for his local coaches’ knowledge of the game, which proved very beneficial to his young career.
Having played for both The Bahamas’ under-15 and under-17 national boys soccer teams, Mitchell is looking forward to playing left wing for the senior national men’s team. He has yet to make an official cap for the team, and has trained with the senior men’s national team. Mitchell hopes to play for The Bahamas at the senior level this summer when they play in June in the 2021 Gold Cup preliminaries. If he gets a break from school, Mitchell wants to play for The
Bahamas in the FIFA (International Federation of Association Football) World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifiers in March of this year.
“Any time you have the opportunity to represent your country, it is a privilege,” Mitchell said. “It was also a privilege to captain the under-15 team at the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) U-15 qualifiers. It was a great experience, and it is a honor and privilege to represent my country playing with guys who you play against at the club level. To be able to know them even more, helped with my transition at Darlington Soccer Academy.”
Before going to the academy, Mitchell played for Queen’s College in New Providence. He also ran track and field while there. He scored 22 goals during the 2017-2018 Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) junior boys season, and helped them win back-to-back titles. At 15, Mitchell played in the Bahamas Football Association’s (BFA) men’s league, scoring three goals.
At the academy, Mitchell showed that he is not only good in sports but also in the classroom as he made the Dean’s List in the 2019-2020 academic period. He sports a 3.7 Grade Point Average (GPA).
Back in 2019, Mitchell was one of three players chosen to play in the world renowned Gothia Cup in Gothenburg, Sweden. The trio, which included Larry Noel and Oliver Mariategui joined South Hampton Town United from Long Island, New York.
Mitchell’s parents are Christophe Mitchell and Christine Green. His main goal is to become a professional player, as he looks to improve his play at the left wing position.