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Warren proving to be PHC’s little big man

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Marco and mom Wendie after PHC won Friendship Trophy on New Year's Day(Photo by Colin Thompson)

At 5ft 4in and 118 pounds soaking wet, Marco Warren’s physical appearance does not exactly strike fear in opponents.

However, what the PHC Zebras midfielder lacks in size is more than compensated for his solid all-around attacking game.

Playing in only his second full season since graduating from Flagler College in Florida with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, the 24-year-old has been a central figure in PHC’s re-emergence as a dominant force.

He is both his club’s and the Premier Division’s top marksman with 17 goals and 12 assists and, on present form, doesn’t appear to be letting up his prolific form anytime soon.

“This season has been great and I’d say I’ve gotten better,” Warren said before the unbeaten league leaders face Dandy Town at St John’s Field on Sunday. “Last season was my first full season at PHC and people are just starting to watch me play here because I have been away for a while.

“This season is a bit similar to last in terms of my consistency. But, statistically, I have been more aggressive and able to add much more goals and assists to help my team.”

It is no coincidence that Warren is on top of his game, but rather the fruits of all the hard work he puts in — on and off the pitch.

“I practise every other day by myself or with my team,” Warren said. “I practise a lot to keep my technique sharp and my fitness good. I’d like to practise more, but work constraints don’t allow me to.”

Warren takes his football very seriously and has a deep affection for the “beautiful game.”

He said: “One of my favourite Michael Jordan quotes is: ‘the greatest thing about the game is the passion and love that I have for it. When you have love for anything you’ll go to the extreme to maintain it’. And that’s what love does, it drives you to do anything you need to do to maintain that connection.

“If I didn’t have love for the game, all the things I have done in my career wouldn’t have been achievable. But my love for the game keeps me pushing to be the best I can be.

“Overall, I just want fans and players of the game to know that it’s not just about how big or how speedy you are, but it’s the speed of thought. It’s not about how powerful you are, but it’s the power of the brain that gets things done. But if all I’m known for is to be a good footballer, then I have done a bad job with the rest of my life.”

It was inevitable that Warren would pursue a career in football given the sport runs deep in his genes. He is the son of former Boulevard and Bermuda winger Dwight “Payback” Warren, grandson of former Warwick United and North Village midfielder Randy Bean and great-grandson of PHC and Bermuda legend Earl “Townsey” Russell. His mother, Wendie, also made a name for herself playing with Somerset Terminators and the women’s national team, while his great-uncle, Dale Russell, played professionally indoor in the United States.

“I have football blood on each side of my family and a heavy legacy to carry on,” Warren, who has been capped a handful of times for Bermuda, said.

“It is great to have Earl ‘Townsey’ Russell as my great-grandpa. Not only does he offer a lot of advice about the game but also about life. He is in his eighties and attends every game rain, blow or shine.

“I don’t know if anyone else can say they have three generations of greats of the Bermuda game to come watch them play. I have my great-grandpa, my grandpa and my dad come out to support me.

“That’s pretty motivating in itself and I am very fortunate to have that.

“My grandpa has been my biggest influence, him and my mom. But for football reasons it’s him, because he’s been there ever since and still is. He and my mother deserve a lot of credit.”

Warren and his Zebras team-mates are riding high, having already clinched the Charity Cup, Dudley Eve Trophy and Friendship Trophy.

They are also unbeaten in all competitions and are the Premier Division leaders.

“I have been really happy with our overall play as a team and ultimately want Bermudians to have something great to watch and enjoy and come out to games again,” Warren said.

Although he admits time is running out, Warren has not ruled out taking his talents to the professional level.

“Playing professionally has always been my ambition, preferably in Europe,” he said. “It’s what I have been working towards almost every day.”

Warren in action against Cougars in November's Dudley Eve Trophy final at Somerset(Photo by Akil Simmons)