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Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity thrilled with Classic progress

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Players prepare for Kappa Classic action (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Nearly 25 years ago Troy Harvey, a brother within the Bermuda Alumnae Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, offered to take over a small but vibrant youth football event known as the Heritage Scholarship Football tournament.

The objective was to infuse fresh ideas as well as to give the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Bermuda Alumni Chapter, a vehicle to aid in the development of Bermuda’s young people in the areas of sportsmanship and achievement.

The event’s origins showcased the talents of young footballers between the ages of 7 and 12 and was called the Kappa Alpha Psi Pee Wee Extravaganza, with the first year featuring 12 boys teams competing in different age groups with the entire event taking place over a few hours on Saturday morning.

Fast foward to 2023 and the fraternity’s vision is clear in its success as the premier youth football tournament - renamed the Kappa Classic - takes in four days and features more than 1,000 boys and girls.

Nigel Burgess, this year’s co-chairman of the event spoke to the evolution of the event.

“The Kappa Classic started off 24 years ago as the Pee Wee Extravaganza and has grown over the years into Bermuda’s premier football tournament, which is a credit to the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi and the growth of football,” said Burgess, still active on the pitch as goalkeeper for Premier Division outfit Hamilton Parish.

“We are appreciative of everyone involved, as we could not have grown to where we are today without the support of the BFA and sponsors’ parents, the clubs and the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi.”

Burgess noted how the likes of Jai Bean, a scholarship player at Duke University, and Leicester City professional Deniche Hill were past participants at the Kappa Classic and benefited from the exposure.

Nigel Burgess, left, and Taijuan Talbot (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“The Kappa Classic provides a stage for the players to display their talents in front of huge crowds that they don’t normally get on weekends,” said Burgess. “This is the platform for them to display their talents and perform and fortunately we’ve had players who have been able to take it a bit farther and make it to the international level.

“We’ve had players that have come down and colleges that have come down to recruit, so we are excited to be able to provide that type of platform for Bermudian players.

“For the younger ones, it's an opportunity for them to observe and look to achieve similar accomplishments.”

As a fraternity borne from the halls of academia, life lessons are emphasised at the event.

“Throughout the tournament we look to encourage sportsmanship and achievement, which is one of the pillars of Kappa Alpha Psi,” said Burgess. “We want to achieve in every field and endeavour and football is one of those platforms where, and this is not all about football, but it's about teamwork and sharing the love of sport within a family atmosphere, as well as being competitive.

“Most clubs put in several teams, including some that are more developmental-minded and some that are more advanced and competitive.

“Most kids don't experience this type of tournament atmosphere with this amount of people and this platform gives them the opportunity to, again, excel.

“Coming at the end of the season this tournament is designed to have them showcase all the talents and what they’ve learned throughout the season.”

This year’s event marks the first time the organisation has been able to engage during the spring since the Covid pandemic.

“We’re back in full force this year,” said Burgess. “In 2022 we had our 2020 classic in September as a preseason tournament, this year we are back to the spring with 106 teams.

“We're back to four days of football which is a testament to the amount of people playing football on the Island and it’s really exciting to have it back at full force.

“It takes a lot of work, a lot of planning and we could not have done it without the help of our sponsors and the support that Kappa Alpha Psi receives from the brothers.

“It is a lot of work but we are dedicated to service and this is our service to the community.”

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Published April 18, 2023 at 7:57 am (Updated April 17, 2023 at 4:47 pm)

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity thrilled with Classic progress

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