Brooke House College provides four with academy pathway
The number of footballers at Brooke House College in Leicestershire, England, will grow to five in the autumn when four Bermuda Under-15 national academy players join Deniche Hill at the school.
Corey Hill, who is Deniche’s father and works as an agent at Brooke House assisting with recruitment, confirmed the capture of Jutorre Burgess, 14, Bakari Furbert, 14, Keiaron Bean, 15, and Kaej Stovell, 14.
Burgess is a midfielder for FC Bascome while the other three are in the Robin Hood youth programme under coach Richard Todd. Furbert is a midfielder, Bean a centre back and Stovell plays at right back. Burgess is transferring from another school in Britain, while Bean and Furbert attend Saltus, and Stovell is at Warwick Academy.
All the youngsters expressed excitement at the opportunity that awaits them at the boarding school. “I’m excited to go to Brooke House, I think it will prepare me for being a profession as I’ll be in a professional environment,” Furbert said.
“I know that my family and friends are counting on me to do well.”
Furbert started at North Village, as did Ajani Burchall, the youngster who is making great strides at Sky Bet Championship club Bournemouth at just 16.
“I feel inspired to know that a Bermudian who came from the same club as me, North Village, can make it out there and get a contract,” he said.
Burgess stated: “I’m excited to go out there, it’s a good opportunity for me to express myself in England in a professional environment,” he said.
Bean, the oldest at 15, added: “I’m excited to go out there, it’s not an opportunity that many get so I’m pleased to get the opportunity and do things that so many wish they can do. My mom may not be, but I’ll be fine!”
Stovell said: “I’m very excited for the new experience that will come in September and I hope to make the best of it as not many people get this opportunity.”
Reeshemah Swan, the principal at Whitney Institute Middle School, has taken special interest in the boys, not just as an educator but also as the mother of one of them, Bakari Furbert.
“It’s a blessing as both an educator and a parent,” she said. “You are always thinking of what is out there for our young males, especially. When Mr Hill did the interview [with The Royal Gazette in December], Bakari’s dad read the article.
“I had already downloaded the application from Brooke House and proposed it to Bakari, but he wasn’t ready at that time. But when he read your article, he said that’s a school that I’m familiar with, let’s set up a Zoom meeting with Mr Hill and it went from there.
“As an educator, you always want to know if it is aligned with future goals because what happens if football doesn’t pan out? Is there something to fall back on?
“When we interviewed with the school, they said, ’oh no, education isn’t a fallback; you have to be stellar on the field and stellar in the classroom. That was a selling point.”
She added: “These boys are doing the UK national curriculum at their schools and when they go to Brook House it will be a seamless transition because they will have already finished one year of a two-year programme.
“They can transition into a fast-track programme to do their IGCSEs [International General Certificate of Secondary Education] and GCSEs, so that again was a selling point. As we told the boys, everyone’s path is different — some are going to go the Zeiko Lewis route, some are going to go the Nahki Wells route or the Shaun Goater route, and all routes are not paved the same.
“The main thing is they are afforded the opportunity and we’re grateful to Mr Hill for coming and looking to recruit. I was aware, and with my colleagues we send students off to boarding school in the US, but I didn’t have any insight into the UK.
“Having someone who is local and who has a child out there helped, and Deniche did attend Whitney Institute when I was the principal, so I’ve been watching his progress. I know this young man, I know his parents, and the connection is what we’re trying to establish here.
“It’s these four boys today; it could be another four boys tomorrow.”
Corey Hill is excited about having the four youngsters join the school this year and assures Brooke House will be a good fit for them.
“I am very happy that the boys and their families have decided on Brooke House College,” Hill said. “BHC is a credited football academy known throughout the UK and overseas.
“If a person has aspirations of having a future in football while attending school, then BHC is a very good fit for anyone. People must understand that there is a huge difference being at a regular boarding school and being at an actual accredited football academy.
“At a football academy, your day basically revolves around school and football. Whether it’s training or playing games, you really don’t have much time for anything else, so you have no choice but to improve as a player.
“That creates a win-win situation for everyone — the player plus Bermuda as a whole.”
Hill added: “The boys will also have the opportunity to experience many different cultures while at BHC, as there are at least 40 different nationalities among the students and some very good talent to go along with that.
“The other positive is that I am living here and the boys and their families also have the option of contacting me directly with any issues or concerns.
“All the boys seem to be very focused on what they want to achieve, but in order to accomplish those things, it’s very important that you are in the right environment for that to happen.
“Along with commitment and dedication, anything is possible and the boys have been briefed on that.”