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Astwood determined to fulfil pursuit of professional dream

Deserved recognition: Arnezha’ Astwood, who attends the Northwood School in New York, was named among the 22 best players from the east region

Arnezha’ Astwood put another feather in his cap after earning All American accolades for his outstanding exploits playing varsity football in New York.

The Northwood School Senior student had the honour bestowed upon him for the first time after being named among the 22 best players from the east region.

“I see it as a blessing,” Astwood said. “I have been working my whole life to get closer to my goal to hopefully go professional, and this is another step.

“I have always dreamt of being a professional and then I got the opportunity to go away, so I have to make it count now.”

Astwood’s dream of becoming a professional player is also one that he shared with a sibling who lost his life in a traffic accident.

“The death of my older brother Shae-quan to a bike accident makes me want to make it every day because that was one of his goals as well,” he added.

Astwood is being well groomed for a potential career in professional football as a student-athlete of his school’s partnership with Black Rock FC that led to the creation of the first residential football academy in the north east region of the United States.

Those selected for the BRFC Residential Academy attend Northwood School and participate in daily football-related activities throughout the academic year from August to June.

During the fall season, student-athletes play against high-level prep and high school teams as well as top domestic and international clubs during the winter and spring.

They also travel to elite showcase events and tournaments across the United States throughout the year.

Astwood, 18, has adjusted well to the level he’s now playing at abroad.

“The game is more physical, but I didn’t struggle when I went out there,” the central defender said.

“It’s a little more physical, but I have adjusted to it.”

Astwood continues to reap the benefits from his dedication and hard work ethic in pursuit of his dream.

“I just need to stay focused, disciplined and work hard and I have been rewarded for it,” he added.

“I will keep working hard and never settle. A lot of Bermudians will go away and settle because they’re away and they think it’s over, but it’s not. It’s just starting when you’re going away, so I keep that type of mentality and have been rewarded for it.”

Putting in extra work on the training ground also appears to be paying dividends for the promising player.

“I attend school and then train and if I’m not tired after training then I stay after and kick a couple of balls around,” he said.

“Then, if we don’t have games on weekends, we have an indoor turf — because it snows where I am — so we go there and kick around and have games to just stay active.”

Astwood and his team-mates were reduced to a limited amount of action last year as the season was cut short because of Covid-19 pandemic.

“We got sent home early because of Covid, so it actually messed up a couple of Player Showcases,” he said. “We were supposed to go to Las Vegas [Player Showcase] and Dallas [Dallas Cup] after, but we couldn’t.”

Asked what he hopes to achieve in the New Year, the PHC and Bermuda Under-20 player added: “I’m trying to get to college and hope to get better and better each day because I don’t want to be the same person I was yesterday.

“I’m not sure how the football is going to work when I go back. But before I left we played four games because of a lot Covid-19 restrictions and stuff in different States.”

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Published January 14, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated January 13, 2021 at 11:42 pm)

Astwood determined to fulfil pursuit of professional dream

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