'A dream come true'

Tuesday, December 05, 2017


LUCEA, Hanover — Shawn Bradford, captain of this year's ISSA/FLOW daCosta Cup champions Rusea's High School has described their achievement as “very satisfying”, after overcoming Clarendon College 2-1 in the final last Saturday night at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, while achieving one of his goals as his high school career comes to a close.

In an interview before the game, Bradford told the Jamaica Observer that winning the title would be a dream come true. “As I said before, it would be a great feeling and, even now, I am still overwhelmed,” he said during yesterday's celebrations in Lucea.

“I was speechless on Saturday, and even today this feeling is very great,” Bradford said. “It is coming to me now that I am a winner; I did not feel it on Saturday night, but now I know.”

Bradford, who was a seventh grade student and a member of the school's Under-14 team when Rusea's last won the daCosta Cup title in 2011 said, while they hate to go behind in games, it seems to spur them to play harder.

They went down to St Elizabeth Technical High School in the semi-finals, but came back to win 5-2 and trailed again on Saturday before pulling it out once again.

“Lapses in the defence caused us to go down in the games, but we are strong enough to come back and fight; we hate going down, but it helps us to get tougher, and we play harder under pressure,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

He will pull on the green, blue and gold shirt of Rusea's for the last time on Saturday in the Olivier Shield play-off against Manning Cup champions Jamaica College and says it is crucial that they win.

“The Olivier Shield is very important to us; we dropped out of the Ben Francis KO and the FLOW Super Cup early, so we want to prove that we are champions.”

Bradford, who hails from Glendevon in Montego Bay, might be the smallest player on the field today, but his heart, determination and leadership skills will set him apart.

Bradford describes himself as “a player who is very determined and play with all my heart and want to win; I add a lot of fight and determination to the team and when they see me fighting they are encouraged to play harder.”

As a leader, he says his teammates “look up to me as a good player and a good leader and they work well with me and I can lift them”.

Bradford is well aware of the legacy they inherited at Rusea's and what is expected of them, not just from the parish of Hanover, but at least for today, all of western Jamaica.

“It's a heavy burden on our shoulders,” he said of the rich history of the school in football. “Every day we hear that we are champions and we like that as it motivates us, and we want to be champions too and when we hear about our history it motivates us. “We will embrace it and use it as our inspiration and not a burden.”

He missed a part of the season with a groin injury that he feared had ended his final season prematurely and could have affected the team's chances, but he said the team played hard and he healed up in time to get back into the team.

His long friendship with Leonardo Fogarthy and Daniel Reid, he said, will help them today. “Leonardo is my cousin and Daniel is my best friend on the team, we have been here from grade seven and we have chemistry, we know each other and how we think.”