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Football mourns loss of dedicated coach

Will be missed: Smith, far left, has passed away

One of local football’s passionate servants has lost his battle with diabetes.

Jermaine “Speedy” Smith, the Bermuda Brazilian Football School and North Village assistant youth coach, passed away last week at age 45, leaving family, friends and the local football community to mourn his death.

The son of Cecil Lewis, the former Western Stars Sports Club president, Smith started his career coming up through the youth ranks as a forward at North Village and also had a brief stint with Town before his illness forced him into early retirement.

Unable to showcase his skills on the pitch any longer, Smith eventually returned to the game in the capacity of a youth coach, enabling him to pass on his knowledge at the grass roots level.

He joined Brazilian Football School in 2009 and remained with the organisation until his death, accompanying youth teams on overseas tours to countries such as Germany, Holland and the United States.

One of Smith’s biggest accomplishments was helping Bermuda High School for Girls to become a competitive force in girls football through the school’s affiliation with BBFS.

“They won their division at the Kappa Classic as well as primary school league and cup honours under his leadership,” Cal Blankendal, the BBFS chief executive, said. “He definitely helped to turn that programme around.

“Speedy will definitely be a great miss because he had a lot of influence on development, specifically the technical skills of younger players.

“He had a gift for making them better quality players before they got into their tactical development and was very proficient with players aged five all the way to twelve.

“He was never in the forefront. But everything he had under his leadership was always successful.”

Over the past several years Smith played an integral role in facilitating overseas camps for the Brazilian Football School.

He also offered his services as a football commentator for Bermuda Sports Network and last season even found time to coach North Village’s Under-14 team.

“One thing about Speedy was that he never worried about the talent, and he knew it was going to be challenging last season due to a low number of players,” Blankendal said.

“But he went all the way through to the end with North Village and made sure they finished the season, making sure those players that came in were developed.

“With Speedy it wasn’t just about winning but rather always about developing the players all the time.

“Speedy was a good friend, colleague and coach and all of us at Bermuda Brazilian Football School are saddened by his passing and offer our sincerest condolences to his family.”