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‘The only thing better than Marco Warren the player was Marco Warren the man’

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Marco Warren shows off the Premier Division Trophy and Freindship Trophy won by PHC last season (Photograph by Ras Mykkal)
Marco Warren is hoisted aloft by his PHC team-mates (Photograph by Lawrence Trott)

Those who had the biggest influence on Marco Warren’s development as a footballer yesterday paid moving tributes to the PHC captain, who died on Sunday at the age of 29.

Former coaches have described Warren as a naturally talented, passionate and astute student of the game who packed a powerful punch belying his diminutive stature.

Warren enjoyed considerable success at the domestic senior level, winning the Bermuda Football Association’s prestigious Most Valuable Player award on three occasions and proving influential in helping PHC to multiple league and cup honours.

In a statement released on Twitter last night, PHC were keen to highlight Warren’s contribution both on and off the field.

“With great sadness, we extend our sincerest condolences to the family of our skipper, Marco Warren, who tragically passed away early Sunday morning,” the statement read.

“Marco was more than just a player. He was part of our family, embodied the Zebra spirit, and was the heart of our team. Marco continually left fans in awe of his skills and inspired other players to improve.

“He was a humble person despite his level of greatness. When he was on the field, the ‘magician’ just went to work. Marco was a loving father, son, brother, boyfriend, nephew, cousin, team-mate, and true friend.

“He was a leader both on and off the field as he demonstrated the well-rounded individual we aspire to develop for our community. All who encountered him were impressed with his wisdom and kindness.

“Words cannot express all that Marco was. To say that he will be missed is an understatement. We have lost a piece of our soul that cannot be replaced.

“We will never forget you. For ever a Zebra. Rest peacefully, Skipper.”

Given the rich sporting legacy on both sides of his family, the amazing skill he possessed perhaps came as no real surprise as the great-grandson of PHC and Bermuda football legend Earl “Townsey” Russell. He was also the son of former Boulevard star Dwight “Payback” Warren and grandson of former North Village, Southampton Rangers and Bermuda midfielder Randy Bean.

Warren got his first real taste of football at the age of 6 while attending a football clinic run by former North Village and Bermuda player David Bascome.

Having been inspired, he would eventually end up at Village, where his enormous potential quickly caught the eye of former coach Troy Harvey.

“He was a very talented player from the time he played for me at under 7 and under 9 at North Village,” Harvey recalled.

“His grandfather, Randy Bean, brought him over when I was coaching at North Village and he always had the knack that he showed this past season.

“He was a very talented and astute footballer and almost had it naturally. He was always very skilful and clinical with his finishing and a student of the game who listened and applied his skills intelligently.”

Rohan Davis also had the pleasure of coaching Warren at Bermuda Institute.

“My first interaction with Marco was a Sunday morning kick at TN Tatem,” he said. “I was invited by his uncle, Blenn Bean, to a kick with the Equalisers football team.

Marco Warren in action (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“He was around 11 at the time. I observed him kicking the ball against the wall and his control was immaculate. I said to myself, who is this 3ft 2in magician?

“When we started playing the game, it wasn’t too long before he pushed the ball through my legs. I immediately fouled him and told him ‘not today’.

“Years passed and his parents enrolled him into middle school at Bermuda Institute, where I had the rich pleasure of seeing him mature not only as a young man but as an exceptional football talent.

“As he matriculated through Bermuda Institute, our football team soared to higher heights in various tournaments. From six-a-side, to interschool league, our football squad saw multiple seasons of progression as Marco grew faster and stronger as a player.

“On the field he was a natural born leader. Although he was small in stature, he was a giant in his character, sportsmanship and talent.

“He had a true passion and love for the game. Anyone who has seen him play will attest to this. His infectious personality galvanised the team.

“As a PE teacher and coach, it was a pleasure to witness the transformation and growth of one of the most dynamic players that I have ever seen.”

Warren later joined PHC, where he continued his development at youth level and he once created a big buzz while on a tour to Brazil organised by former Pembroke Juniors and Bermuda goalkeeper Curtis DeGraff.

Marco Warren was known for his dead-ball delivery (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

“Marco was the smallest of the group but the most effective and everybody came to watch this little guy,” DeGraff recalled.

“He demonstrated all those skills from a youngster like his attentiveness. He was quiet but very studious when it came to soccer. He watched, listened and did everything the coach told him to do.”

Warren later earned a scholarship after impressing scouts at a camp in Florida and eventually enrolled at Monteverde Academy, with whom he helped create history.

“Marco was one of many new boys that showed up when I took over the programme in 2010-11 to help us have our first unbeaten season in national championship and school history, ” said former coach Mike Potempa.

“That would go on to repeat itself and to be nine-times champions over the course of my career in 13 years at the school.

“Marco as a player was fantastic. He was very smart in the way that he played. A lot of people weren’t sure how to take him because of his size; he was very small but he could play.

Marco Warren lifts the Premier Division Trophy (Photograph by Ras Mykkal)

“It didn’t matter what the opponent was. He was always much smarter than the opponent and could score goals from distance and was actually very good in the air as small as he was. He was a competitor and loved football.”

Warren’s skills also stood out while attending Flagler College in Florida.

“His first competitive game, Marco, not the biggest in stature, turned the two biggest players on the opposition side upside down in tackles and came away with the ball both times. That was the moment I knew I had a player,” said former coach John Lynch.

“Our worst run in the four years Marco played was when he was injured for four games and we lost them all, such was his importance to the team.

“In his time, the team qualified for three NCAA national tournaments, and Marco was a key player in all those years.

“The only thing better than Marco Warren the player, was Marco Warren the man. He was a gift to this world and we are all better for knowing him.”

Warren rejoined PHC after graduating in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and enjoyed considerable success at senior level under former coaches Scott Morton and Winston Trott Jr.

Owen Darrell, the Minister of Youth, Culture and Sport, described Warren’s death as a “profoundly tragic and devastating loss” for the community.

“Marco’s untimely passing hits us very hard, as he was a beloved member of our Youth and Sport family, working within our organisation as a youth mentor and programme leader. Marco was a humble and kind young man and our hearts are heavy today.

“He was also an incredible Bermudian football star and a rising talent who left an indelible mark on the sport. Marco was integral to the development of the younger ranks, and his loss will be felt greatly among the football community.

“Marco was a new father, and I cannot begin to express how saddened I am for his entire family.

“On behalf of the ministry, I extend my sincerest, deepest and heartfelt condolences to Marco’s loved ones and friends and to our sports community. They are all in our thoughts today and in the weeks to come.”

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Published May 16, 2023 at 8:03 am (Updated May 16, 2023 at 8:03 am)

‘The only thing better than Marco Warren the player was Marco Warren the man’

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