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Young football stars make the most of Kappa Classic opportunity

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Warwick Football Academy Valencia coach Nelson Lee, middle, with Gabrielle Lee and Celá Card (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

High energy and superb skills were displayed by Bermuda’s up-and-coming football stars on the final day of the Kappa Classic.

For the first time the three-day football fiesta, held at the National Sports Centre’s North Field and Flora Duffy Stadium from Friday to Sunday, had a competition for under-7 girls and the first-timers did not disappoint.

Devonshire Colts defeated Vasco da Gama 3-0 in the under-7 boys final with Finley Cooper, the MVP, coming up with two brilliant goals, both struck from outside the box, with Oscar Lima weighing in with the other goal.

Cooper, 8, who looks up to Portuguese maestro Cristiano Ronaldo, was delighted to win the title with Colts.

“I feel really good about how I played,’’ Cooper told The Royal Gazette. “It was really fun and exciting playing in the Kappa Classic for the first time.

Double scorer: Finley Cooper shows his delight after scoring a goal for Devonshire Colts against Vasco da Gama in the Kappa Classic boys under-7 final (Photograph by Ras Mykkal)

“It felt really nice to score those two goals. The crowd was really behind us and that inspired me a lot. I've never played before such a big crowd and this is my first time playing for Devonshire Colts.

“I enjoy football because it’s really fun and it just makes me really happy. My inspiration is Cristiano Ronaldo and I want to score goals like he does.”

For Lima, playing before a big crowd made him nervous, but once he settled in he played without fear.

“It was very exciting to score for my team and for us to win,’’ Lima said.

“It felt a little scary with all these people around, but then once I played a few games it felt better.”

Colts goalkeeper Edward Burt, the son of David Burt, the Premier, comes from a family of West Ham supporters and his favourite player is the Hammers’ French shotstopper Alphonse Areola.

“I feel happy winning Kappa for the first time,’’ said Burt, who conceded only two goals throughout the tournament.

Devonshire Colts goalkeeper Edward Burt only conceded two goals in the entire tournament in the under-7

“The goals I conceded were too soft but I’m happy we got the result and at the end of the whole tournament, we got the big results.

“The goalkeeper I love the most is Areola because he plays for my team.”

Colts coach Lauren Lima believes his young stars have a bright future ahead in the sport.

“It was an honour and a privilege to coach this team throughout the season,’’ Lima said.

“We have some very talented young players and I’m looking forward to next year.

“We went undefeated throughout the entire tournament and I couldn't have asked for anything better, it was written in the stars for us.”

Earlier on, in an all-Warwick Football Academy clash, Valencia defeated Atletico 2-0 to be crowned girls under-7 champions.

While winning the MVP came as a surprise for Celá Card, one of the scorers in the final, she was thrilled to be a champion at the first attempt.

“It feels nice that we won and I was shocked to win MVP, but happy to win it,’’ Card said.

“The tournament was a little hard but I pushed through. I play football because I just like running and having fun.”

Warwick Football Academy's Cairo Tucker, left, goes into a challenge with PHC's Dakari Smith-Davis in the under-15 boys final (Photograph by Ras Mykkal)

Warwick Valencia coach Nelson Lee was full of praise for both teams.

“What an awesome season and I’m really happy for all the girls,’’ Nelson said.

“They did really well, they worked hard all season and pushed each other. We’re a team and it doesn't matter which of the Warwick teams won as we all work together hard at training, and all the girls deserved it.

“I’ve been coaching these girls since they were four or five years old, so it’s awesome.”

Kierra Broadley-Samuels had a brilliant Kappa Classic, with an MVP display to lead the Saltus-based Bascome Futbol Leadership Academy to a 3-0 triumph over PHC in the girls under-11 final.

Warwick Football Academy under-15 boys finished the season unbeaten (Photograph by Nicki Horan)

The 10-year-old has gained a lot from playing in a team with boys at St George’s.

“I didn't believe that we could win because the other girls were all bigger than me,’’ Broadley-Samuels said.

“My parents told me to believe in myself and then I’ll be fine. I play for St George’s boys under-9 and 11, and for Bascome girls under-11.”

Warwick’s under-15 boys made sure finished their season unbeaten by winning 3-2 on penalties against PHC in the final. The encounter finished 2-2 in regulation time and penalties were needed to decide the champions.

Keishon Smith, the Warwick coach, attributed his team’s success to dedication from both players and coaches.

“It’s been a tremendous season for the under-15s and credit to the boys and the staff,’’ he said.

“It takes a lot of work, desire and determination to stay focused the whole season. It’s a proud moment watching these guys transform into a good unit.”

Kappa Classic chairman Nigel Burgess was pleased with the expansion of the island’s premier junior football event.

Natural Simmons PHC, left, tries to keep the ball away from Kiara Deane of Dandy Stars in the under-13 girls final (Photograph by Ras Mykkal)

“Our tournament continues to grow each year and we had 117 teams this year,’’ Burgess said.

“This was the first year to have an equal age group for boys and girls, under-7 through to under-15. It was just disappointing that not enough teams registered for an under-15 girls competition.

“We are encouraging and embracing the growth of the sport in Bermuda. We’re happy to provide a platform for the players to showcase their talen, and the hard work they've put in throughout the season.

“It was an amazing three days, the teams provided a good show. Our sponsors have been amazing, we couldn't have done this without them.”

Kappa Classic age group winners


Girls: Warwick Football Academy Valencia

Boys: Devonshire Colts


Girls: Warwick Football Academy Inter

Boys: North Village


Girls: Bascome Futbol Leadership Academy

Boys: FC Bascome


Girls: PHC

Boys: FC Bascome


Boys: Warwick Football Academy Santos

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Published April 22, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated April 23, 2024 at 8:14 am)

Young football stars make the most of Kappa Classic opportunity

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