NEWS

'Old' the bar!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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SOMEWHERE down the line, Rickardo Oldham is going to be pitching arguments in court for a living.

Right now though, Oldham is laying down a different argument on the pitch for Arnett Gardens, as he makes a case to fulfil his dreams as a footballer.

In Monday night football's feature between Arnett Gardens and The University of the West Indies (UWI) FC, Oldham, playing the position of central midfield, gave a very dominant and wholesome display, one which was instrumental in his team's dominance in a 0-0 draw, at Arnett Gardens' Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex.

The result kept both teams mid-table on four points, five adrift front-running Waterhouse and Molynes United whose maximum wins in three completed rounds put them on nine points apiece in the 12-team standings.

The 26-year-old Oldham centred the pitch and was involved in practically every build-up, sometimes starting the play from the back and on other occasions finishing at goal.

One with composure and a measured game, he displayed a wide range of passing, weighing and directing the ball in well-aimed fashion to generate the type of play necessary for game control, or lighting up a quick counter.

“The coach gave me a role to play and I have to do it wisely. If I'm not performing well the team is going to break down, because central midfield is the engine of the team and once the engine is not running the car won't be moving,” expressed Oldham.

Noting a major facet in binding his team, Oldham explains: “Communication, that's the key. Whenever we go forward and lose the ball I always try and communicate with them — where to go, left, right, mark, come back.”

Continuing, he said: “Currently I'm the vice-captain of the team — that's an important role as well. I respect them just as how they respect me, so the communication is good.”

His coach Alex Thomas paid glowing tributes to the young Turk, who at one stage had to leave the field for treatment following a bang-up, before returning to play.

Thomas said: “He balances the pitch, he organises the team, keeps them together and works them.

“He's the one that I gave the Man of the Match — his heart, putting out a lot of work. He's the heart and soul of the team. He's been working tremendously hard and I commend him for that,” the coach added.

Oldham, who lives in the community, has been playing from teenage days and has won virtually every title.

“I've been playing with Arnett (senior team) since 2012, straight out of Manning Cup,” admitted the former Camperdown High School star player.

“I live five minutes away from the field and I came through the youth system right up. I've won Under-13, won Under-17, Under-20 and Under-21,” shared Oldham. “I never won with the Premier League team because I was overseas at the time.”

During that period when Arnett's senior team — which included teammates with whom he had won many of his junior titles at the club — was winning the Premier League, Oldham was on scholarship in the United States, where he continued playing football and was good enough to enter the Major League Soccer (MLS Draft). However, he was not picked up and went on to play in the Professional Development League.

Off the field, Oldham was successfully chasing another dream in the classroom and accomplished greatness in a major way, achieving a Bachelor's degree in Law.

“It was a good experience,” he said of his US sojourn. “I finished with a degree and I went into the MLS Draft. Unfortunately, it never went well, but I'll keep working.”

That is, of his current career.

“I never wanted to finish my career and continue with law right now, so I'm trying to finish my career and after that, I'll take it from there,” he admitted.

Having grown up in the club, Oldham has seen many talented players come and go, and he yearns to create a blueprint for Arnett Gardens Football Club.

“I want to take my career to the next level and I also want to break the cycle at Arnett Gardens whereas good players just come and people replace them and nobody goes overseas to play,” he stated.

“The next level for me is going professional in America, Europe and I also want to represent the senior men's team.”

At this stage, he says, and with credence, “it's not too far, but I need more work”.

Because he is at that maturing age for sportsmen, he may be right in suggesting “it's never too late for a shower of rain”.

— Audley Boyd