The changing face of Freeport Rugby and Football Club – two young Bahamians, one aged 21 and the other 24, have taken the top positions of captain of rugby and soccer.
It is a great success story for Jackelo Pierre (left) and Kacy Charlton who both graduated to the roles after starting out in the club’s programmes for pre-teenagers. Jackelo now leads the rugby team and Kacy the soccer, as well as being rugby vice captain.
It was a decision Jackelo made shortly after leaving Hugh Campbell Primary School which has taken him to the top of the Grand Bahama tree in his chosen sport.
The 11-year-old avoided the kneejerk reaction of his friends, who were taking up basketball at Sir Jack Hayward High School, and opted for the unfashionable rugby instead. A dozen years later he has become a vital powerhouse in a team which has been outstandingly successful in league and cup games in the Bahamas.
He and Kacy, the 21-year-old, now sit as fully-fledged members of the historic club’s committee along with old stagers who helped develop them when they were teenagers.
A delighted Kacy said: “When I was younger I watched my dad play rugby and that’s how I got involved. I now consider the club my second home. It was there I learned to play soccer. It is now probably my favourite sport and one where I have met some of my good friends.
“I think it is a great accomplishment to come through the ranks like this and I am very proud of that. I am looking forward to accepting all the responsibility and being a role model for the younger kids at the club.”
Kacy is one of the many local youngsters to have benefitted from the annual English Premier League soccer camp with its visiting international coaches. He was just 14 when the series began, and he has also learned a lot under the tutelage of boys’ development league senior coach Mark Hardy.
Jackelo, whose early mentor was Jay Cafferata, told the story of his discovery of rugby. “When I went to Sir Jack Hayward I wanted to play basketball and when the PE teacher was explaining at assembly what sports there were available I was listening for when the try outs would be for that sport. While I was waiting she talked about rugby and for some reason my ears started ringing.
“After that I forgot about basketball. The following Monday night I went over to the rugby club and had my first practice session. After that first night I was addicted.
“Rugby is a fun, tough sport. My friends from the neighbourhood I grew up in called it ‘kill the man with the ball’ but it is not. For me rugby is not so much a sport but a job. When I step on that field I always give 120 per cent. If you have never played or even heard of rugby you need to come and try it. You will never look back”
Kacy comes from a well-known local sporting family. “Growing up I played all kinds of sport because it stopped me getting bored. Coming from a family with great athletic abilities I think I was born to play sport.”
Club President, and former rugby captain, Rob Speller could not be happier with the dual appointment. “These guys both deserve this recognition. They have both made great contributions to the club in the past and will do for a long time to come.
“They both came through the youth programs of the two sports. Both have continued supporting the club and indeed both have played for the national rugby team and now are on the committee making decisions about the next generation.
“Rugby and soccer obviously attract a lot less attention than other sports here but internationally both are huge with many millions watching worldwide. Given the size of Grand Bahama the standards reached in both are excellent and these two guys will be carrying the torch to new heights.”
For further information contact: Rob Speller 533 5735.
Courtesy of GB Info