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McDowell wins sponsorship award

Caleb McDowall is relishing the opportunity to experience life abroad after being named the latest recipient of the Kenneth “Smokey” Thompson Athlete Sponsorship Award.

In partnership with Bermuda Football Association and PartnerRe, the 16-year-old Saltus Academy student has been awarded $5000 to cover the costs of travelling abroad and enjoying a training experience.

And while the youngster, who is part of the ABC Football School, has not yet decided where he will enjoy his experience, he is determined to make the most of the opportunity, where ever that may be.

“The experience itself is going to be very good. To have that first exposure to going abroad and possibly playing football will be amazing,” McDowall said.

“I remember when Nahki Wells first signed for Huddersfield, he came back and spoke to my club and that was a massive inspiration to me and showed where we can reach.

“I'd like to thank my parents for supporting me and pushing on and setting me on the right path to this point.

“Thank you also to the BFA and PartnerRe for recognising me for this award and giving me this great opportunity.”

McDowall has become the third recipient of the award, named after former PartnerRe employee Thompson who had a great passion for football and the island's youth and recognises a player selected by the National Academy coaching staff.

The first winner of the award, Jadae Steede-Hill opted to train at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, while Zakiyah Lee, last year's recipient, travelled to the UK to be part of a football camp.

Mark Wade, the BFA president, spoke of success of the award and the opportunity it can afford those worthy of being named a recipient.

“Caleb will travel to a training experience that we have yet to finalise just yet. We are speaking to a number of options to find out which one will best serve Caleb's needs,” Wade said.

“It is an award that helps our players to pursue different careers and opportunities. We look for football attributes as well as their mental approach. We look for a well rounded person and Caleb certainly fits that.

“We've sent players to IMG Academy in Florida, that is a more academic route and we've also sent players to West Ham and FBT Academy on a more professional pathway and get a taste of the professional game.

“This award marries up with the government's national junior athlete award and that goes back further. We had a young Zeiko Lewis and Tre Ming go over to the UK on those awards and so you can see the success of those experiences.”

Worthy winner: Caleb McDowall, centre, recipient of the Kenneth “Smokey” Thompson Athlete Sponsorship Award, along with Amanda Pacheco, of PartnerRe, and BFA president Mark Wade (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 27, 2019 at 8:32 pm (Updated May 27, 2019 at 8:46 pm)

McDowell wins sponsorship award

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