Larry Darrell honoured to be a BFA legend
Larry Darrell embodied the spirit of the beautiful game of football throughout a distinguished career at both club and international level.
It is for this reason the former Young Men’s Social Club, Vasco da Gama and Bermuda player has been honoured by the Bermuda Football Association through its 2021 Legends Scholarship Programme.
“It’s an honour for me to have been acknowledged with this award for the youngsters,” Darrell, 70, told The Royal Gazette. “I am so proud to be helping the youngsters in this capacity.
“I’m very proud and also my family are very proud of me. Everybody is looking forward to it.”
Darrell’s career started at Social Club where he groomed the skills as a central midfielder before evolving into a central defender.
“That’s where it all started and Social Club means a real lot to me,” he added.
“I was there at 12 years old growing up as a young fellow and learning the trade from the older fellows. Just being there and watching guys play and train at the Casuarina Park [where the BGA Wholesale Distributor building at Mills Creek, Pembroke, now stands] and learning the positions they were in and how they went about their programme at Social Club.
“The person that I took a lot to was Gladwin ‘Bubba’ Daniels [Social Club captain], who played centre half for Social Club, for the way he went about his work.”
Daniels, who captained Bermuda in their first international match against Iceland in Reykjavik in August 1964 and also led the national team to the silver medal at the 1967 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, Canada, was honoured as a BFA legend in 2008.
After spending 12 seasons at Social Club, Darrell joined Vasco in 1980 when he led the Portuguese team to multiple cup honours, including back-to-back FA Cup triumphs in 1981 and 1982.
It was during his stint at Vasco when he swapped positions from midfield to central defender.
“Danvers Seymour was the coach when I went to Vasco and he said he didn’t need a midfielder,” Darrell recalled. “He needed a centre half, so I said I would play centre half. I was playing centre midfield for Social Club, so it was almost the same thing as playing centre half.”
Darrell’s talents transcended the local football landscape, as he also represented the national team on several occasions.
He also had the privilege of captaining a BFA League Select and converting the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in a 1-0 win over visiting Canadian side Italian-Lucano at BAA Field.
“That was a great honour to be captain and score the penalty,” Darrell said. “The pressure was on, but you have to do what you are taught to do in training.”
The former player’s career has gone full circle, as he is now giving back to the present crop of players at Social Club, where it all began.
“I still go up the field and lend my expertise to the youngsters and coaches, and help out whenever I can,” he said. “They send someone to do some extras with them or whatever and I try to help in that area.”
The BFA Legends Scholarship was first awarded in 2007 and is presented to Bermuda’s brightest student-athletes who embody the spirit of the local legends.
The award demonstrates the BFA’s commitment to education as well as highlighting those persons who are legends in the game who meet the criteria.
Rudy Minors (posthumous), Glen “Gappa” Wade (posthumous), Sheldon Bradshaw and Shawnette Perott are the other 2021 BFA legends.
Minors, a Somerset Trojans left back and captain, led the club to the Triple Crown for three consecutive seasons between 1968 and 1970 and was also a member of Bermuda’s 1967 Pan Am Games silver medal-winning team.
Wade won numerous honours during stints with Pembroke Juniors, Dock Hill Rangers and PHC, and was also a member of the island’s fist national team that played away to Iceland.
Bradshaw was one of the top goalkeepers of his era who won numerous league and cup titles during stints with Trojans, North Village and Vasco.
He started his career at Ireland Rangers and was also capped several times for the national team.
Perott played as a central defender for Cedar Park and Dandy Stars in the former women’s league, which folded in 2013.
During that period she earned several individual awards and also served both as a player captain and coach.
The twin sister of former Devonshire Cougars captain Shawn Smith is the youth co-ordinator at the Dandy Town Youth Academy.