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Burgeoning talent honoured at BFA Youth Awards ceremony

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Warwick Football Academy stars D’ari Coddington, left, coach Keishon Bean, and Sami Carolo with their awards (photograph by Nicki Horan)

Youth was served on Sunday afternoon with many of the Island’s brightest footballers rewarded for their exploits at the Appleby 2024 Youth League Awards, hosted by the Bermuda Football Association.

A packed Earl Cameron Theatre repeatedly filled with tension as finalists were announced in each award category before exploding in rapturous celebration at the declaring of each winner.

Four youngsters took home cherished Player of the Year awards, with FC Bascome’s Jeon Wolfe, Sami Carolo of Warwick Football Academy and PHC’s Yeshai Burgess seizing male honours in the Under-13, Under-15 and Under-18 divisions respectively, while Riley Khan was recognised for her footballing prowess among the Under-13 Girls Division.

“It’s a blessing to receive this award,” said Burgess, who played a starring role among the young Zebras attack.

“When I began this season I told my family that I wanted to win this, so it’s nice to finally get recognised for that. I owe a great deal of my success to my teammates and my coach.

“They supported me throughout the year, through all of the ups and downs. When we didn’t have many numbers for training they still pushed through, enabling us to get the results.

“I want to play football at the highest level or at least as high as I can go.”

Burgess was also among the leading goalscorers with he and Xave Smith tallying nine times for PHC, but they lost out for the overall scoring title to Mosiais Mills, who managed 12 goals for FC Bascome.

Acclaimed as queen among the Under-13 Girls was Riley Khan, a diminutive, fleet-footed attacker.

“I’m happy and grateful,” began Khan. “I wanted to win the award and I’m glad that my efforts showed.

“I just like to play and see my teammates happy and to come back to my family and be congratulated.”

Under-15 referee of the year Isaiah O’Brien receives his award from Crenstant Williams (photograph by Nicki Horan)

Of little surprise was the naming of Carolo as the Under-15 league’s best player, with the playmaker key in the success of the Warwick outfit’s unbeaten season in which they claimed the age group’s triple crown, made up of the league, Knockout Cup and Lee Holder Cup.

He additionally played a prime role in their taking top honours in the age group at the recent Kappa Classic.

“I’m very honoured to win this award,” said Carolo.

“I’m thankful to everyone who has helped me on my journey, especially my parents, because without them I would not be here.

“Key to my success have been my teammates and my coach, who have facilitated my success, have encouraged and pushed me to be great.

“This season has been amazing, to be honest. At the beginning of the season we set this as a goal and I’m very proud of the team.”

Jeon Wolfe of FC Bascome was also left to savour a similar accomplishment as part of local football academy FC Bascome.

“It’s definitely an honour,” said the young striker. “I’m certainly happy and feel like my winning this award shows that my hard work this season has paid off.

“FC Bascome has been an enormous help. Coach Bascome, having training every day of the week, is always pushing us to our limits, so he gets the best out of us.

“Every game I come in with the intention of trying to win and get the best out of the game, while making sure me and the team give our best performance.”

While attackers ruled the Player of the Year category there was plenty of recognition afforded the defenders.

Premier among those defence was Natural Simmons of the Lady Zebras’ Under-13 herd.

Jess McClure, nominee for under-13 girls coach of year picks up her award (photograph by Nicki Horan)

Asked of her thoughts on being termed the Defensive Player of the Year Simmons was quite modest in her assessment.

“I don’t know, but it’s a good accomplishment” said the soft-spoken youngster.

“I just go out and give my best while trying to help my team win. I always look to remain calm, do my role, be happy and have fun.”

Not so reluctant to express his satisfaction at being named tops in defence among the Under-13 boys was Kayuri Tucker of Dandy Town.

“It’s feels pretty great,” said Tucker, a tall athlete who strives to models his game after Liverpool skipper Virgil van Dijk.

“Every game I just try to stop as many attacks as I can and help my team turn defence into attack.”

Likewise, D’Ari Coddington stands among the breed of tall defenders possessing a varied skill set, capable in both defence and attack.

“It’s an honour really,” said the WFA centre-back after being named the best defender among the Under-15 boys.

“I look to always keep my team in the game. I like to receive the ball and play it on, so that I can make space for myself and create attacks.”

Jayden Belboda Raveneau was voted best at the art of limiting opponents’ attacking options for those competing in the Under-18 Division.

“I’m happy with the award,” said the teenager, who was most satisfied with the team’s overall success in winning the league title.

“I just try to do the best for my team, take the advice of my coach and carry out his instructions.

“I think as a team we all worked hard. I believe the got what it deserved and I believe I got what I deserved for the work put in.

“I take serious the responsibility of representing PHC and what the club is all about.

“I take it serious and do my best for my team, my family as well as myself. Every time I step out on the field I try to do better.”

Xavier Thomas-Bassett of FC Bascome, who recently impressed at the Mediterranean Cup football tournament in Spain ended a fine 2024 campaign by being named the most outstanding goalkeeper among the Under-13 boys, while PHC’s Jahneel Maria won the Under-15 award and Khy Bean, of Somerset, was named best Under-18 custodian.

Maria, even as he was content with winning the goalkeeping award, could not deny the desire of those thrust between the sticks’, that of being a striker.

“Yes, I sometimes when I’m watching mjy teammates unable to score I want to get up front and show them how it’s done,” said Maria with a wide grin.

Among those named as Coach of the Year were Jonathan Eve, Keishon Smith, Roderick Lewis and Taznae Fubler, who was notable for winning Player of the Year at the Senior awards and achieved the coach award in her first year at the helm of the Lady Zebras.

“It’s a great experience,” said Fubler afterwards. “It’s a joy reallying, with this being my first time coaching in a competitive league.

“I give it all back to my girls. They showed out and really made my job easy, so I give it back to them.

“I got into it because there was a need for coaches at PHC and I was told that I was needed, so I responded.”

Sar Smith emerged as a leading on-field official, being nominated in both the Youth Referee Under-13 and Under-18 categories, winning top honours in the former.

Said Smith: “I’m very grateful for all of those involved, my family, those in the BFA that nominated me and especially Mr [Crenstant] Williams for continually pushing me to get better.”

Asked why he was willing to take on a role that often places one in position to receive criticism from players and spectators that can sometimes border on abuse Smith highlighted refereeing to be a function he has long a desire to perform.

“It’s not that I like taking the abuse, it’s just something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Smith. “Then I got the opportunity and felt bold enough to do it and I’ve liked it ever since.”

Appleby Youth Awards

Under-13 Division


Jeon Wolfe (FC Bascome)

Finalists: Amai Harvey (Dandy Town), Deacon Wade (Somerset)

Goalkeeper of Year

Xavier Thomas-Bassett (FC Bascome)

Finalists: Cameron Porter (North Village), Quincy Ratteray (Dandy Town)

Defensive Player of Year

Kayuri Tucker (Dandy Town)

Finalists: Adam Barritt (FCB Blue), Ny’ori Dill (North Village)

Top Goalscorer

Chaz Edmead (North Village)

Finalists: Kaiyuri Albuoy (North Village), Amir Weller (PHC)

Coach of Year

Jonathan Eve (Dandy Town)

Finalists: Drewonde Bascome (FC Bascome), Robert Bean (PHC)

Referee of Year

Sar Smith

Finalists: Tayte Brown, Dunstan Desa

Under-13 Girls


Riley Khan (Lady Zebras)

Finalists: Nalini Minors (Lady Warriors), Milan Gibbons-Thomas (Dandy Stars)

Defensive Player of Year

Natural Simmons (Lady Zebras)

Finalists: Suri Ruddock (Lady Warriors), Stella Simpson (BFLA)

Coach of Year

Taznae Fubler (Lady Zebras)

Finalists: Shawnette Perott (Dandy Stars), Jess McClure (Warwick Academy)

Referee of Year

Daley Outerbridge

Finalists: Lexzia Augustus, Antoinette Barry

Under-15 Division


Sami Carolo (Warwick Football Academy)

Finalists: Harlem Bean-Fox (PHC), Dakayo Leverock (Dandy Town)

Goalkeeper of Year

Jahneel Maria (PHC)

Finalists: Curtis Jackson Jr (Dandy Town), Ethan Adderley (FC Bascome)

Defensive Player of Year

D’ari Coddington (Warwick Football Academy)

Finalists: Grant Reece (FC Bascome), Patrick Dill (Somerset), Tiago Correia (North Village)

Top Goalscorer

Sinai Simons (Vasco)

Finalists: Dakayo Leverock and Jaylen Heaven (Dandy Town)

Coach of Year

Keishon Bean (Warwick Football Academy)

Finalists: Kevin Lambe (PHC), Mark Mills (FC Bascome)

Referee of Year

Isaiah O’Brien

Finalists: Isaac Todd, Rakheem Wilson

Under-18 Division


Yeshai Burgess (PHC)

Finalists: Kameron McNeil (Somerset), Khari Sharrieff (FC Bascome)

Goalkeeper of Year

Khy Bean (Somerset)

Finalists: Jayden Symonds (PHC), Tomas Mello (FC Bascome)

Defensive Player of Year

Jayden Belboda Raveneau (PHC)

Finalists: Isaiah Franks (Somerset), Jonah Trott (Vasco), Khari Sharrieff (FC Bascome)

Top Goalscorer

Mosiais Mills (FC Bascome)

Finalists: Enrique Mendes (Somerset), Xave Smith and Yeshai Burgess (PHC)

Coach of Year

Roddy Lewis (PHC)

Finalists: Mark Mills (FC Bascome), Marlon Dill (North Village)

Referee of Year

Cecoy Robinson

Finalist: Sar Smith

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Published April 29, 2024 at 1:17 pm (Updated April 29, 2024 at 1:17 pm)

Burgeoning talent honoured at BFA Youth Awards ceremony

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