Family ‘so proud’ of Nahki’s rise

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  • Bradford City's Nahki Wells (left) keeps the ball from Aston Villa's Nathan Baker during their English League Cup sem-ifinal match at Valley Parade Stadium last month.

    Bradford City's Nahki Wells (left) keeps the ball from Aston Villa's Nathan Baker during their English League Cup sem-ifinal match at Valley Parade Stadium last month.


Nahki Wells’ goal scoring exploits with Bradford City have made many Bermudians proud.

But perhaps none more so than the Bantams striker’s proud mother, Elizabeth Simmons, who has observed her son’s development from a Pee Wee with local side Wolves all the way to Valley Parade in the UK.

Simmons recalls when her son first fell in love with football and began pursuing an ambition of playing the sport professionally.

“Nahki started kicking a ball as soon as he could walk,” she told The Royal Gazette. “You could find him out in the yard running around kicking the ball.

“It was when he attended Elliot Primary that you could really see his determination and passion for the game. Nahki played football for the school and the Gym teacher Mr Smith, who was also the coach of Wolves youth team, suggested signing him up. He played for Wolves from the age of five to eight and then signed up for Dandy Town’s youth team.

“And for as long as I can remember if you asked Nahki what he was going to be when he grew up, the answer was always the same ... ‘a professional football player’.”

Wells has made steady progress since signing with Bradford in July 2011.

He is the League Two club’s current leading goal scorer with 18 goals in all competitions this season and one of the youngest players on Phil Parkinson’s squad.

“I am extremely proud of Nahki and I hope that he continues to develop his skills and enjoys every moment of it,” Simmons said.

Prior to signing with Bradford Wells had a brief stint with Carlisle United that did not go as originally planned.

“When Nahki was on trials to Carlisle he had only been in the UK for five months and I felt he wasn’t given enough time to adjust and adapt,” Simmons said. “Nahki has never doubted his ability and that experience made him more determined than ever to show everyone what he is capable of.”

Wells and his Bradford teammates are on the brink of making history as victory over Swansea in this month’s League Cup Final at Wembley Stadium will make them the first fourth tier side to win a major English domestic cup.

The 22-year old striker has scored three goals in Bradford’s extraordinary run in this season’s League Cup competition, including an opportunistic strike against Aston Villa in the first leg of the two -legged semi-final.

After giving his team the lead against the run of play against Premier side Villa at Valley Parade, Wells paid an emotional tribute to late Bermuda teammate and friend Tumaini Steede by revealing the latter’s name on a shirt underneath his jersey.

Devonshire Cougars midfielder Steede succumbed to serious injuries he sustained in a bike accident last summer.

“Nahki took Tumaini’s death very hard,” Simmons said. “When I saw Nahki pull up his shirt and pay tribute to Tumaini it brought tears to my eyes.

“Nahki has made numerous friends over the years through playing football and other sports. There has been a bunch of them that have always stayed close and Tumaini was one of them.”

Wells, who plays with a pair of boots bearing the name and jersey number (10) which Steede wore for Cougars, has dedicated the 2012-13 season to the memory of his late friend.

Simmons is among a growing number of locals travelling to Wembley to support Wells and his teammates during the upcoming League Cup Final.

“I will be there to support my son and Bradford City FC,” she said. “I am really nervous but looking forward to it.

“It’s really unbelievable how many people are supporting Nahki and Bradford City FC. There is going to be a really strong Bermuda support system at Wembley, and I am extremely happy that he has so many supporters.”

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Published Feb 15, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Feb 15, 2013 at 8:27 am)

Family ‘so proud’ of Nahki’s rise

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