Arnezhá Astwood lands football scholarship at University of Nebraska Omaha
Arnezhá Astwood is taking his football talents to the University of Nebraska Omaha.
The PHC and Bermuda Under-20 central defender has earned a scholarship to attend the college where he looks forward to furthering his education and football development playing at NCAA Division 1 level for the Mavericks, who compete in the Summit League.
“Really excited to be going to the University of Nebraska Omaha ,” Astwood told The Royal Gazette.
“A couple of years back I didn’t think I was even going to go university. But now to have an opportunity I have to take full advantage of it and continue to grow as a student and grow as a soccer player.”
Astwood will enrol at UNO the start of the autumn semester.
The 19-year-old caught the eye of university scouts while thriving at The Northwood School where he earned All-American accolades for the first time for his exploits playing varsity soccer in New York last season before it was cut short because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He has also been named among a 23-strong East Boys squad that will lock horns with the West Boys in the tenth High School All-American Game in St Louis, Missouri, on May 29.
“I am really excited for the All-American game,” Astwood added. “I am very honoured to be named among the best in the United States and can’t wait for the game.”
His 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,” Astwood said.
The player is being well groomed as a student-athlete for a potential career in professional football through his school’s partnership with Black Rock FC, which 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 and participate in daily football-related activities throughout the academic year from August to June.
During the autumn 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 US throughout the year.
Unfortunately for Astwood, he was denied the opportunity to appear in front of scouts at two premier Player Showcase events last year as a result of the pandemic.
However, opportunity still knocks having been recruited by UNO, whose multinational roster boasts players from the US, Canada, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.
The nephew of Stephen Astwood, the former PHC and Bermuda striker, is grateful to all those who have supported him in pursuit of his academic and athletic ambitions.
“I want to send a special shout out to my family,” Astwood said.
“My mother [Arnell] for always believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. As a single parent, I know the stress she has gone through.
“My sisters, aunts, friends, my uncles and to my brothers who started me off in the backyard and played a major part in my life and my soccer career. I just want to thank everybody.”