Antiguan youngster gets nod from West Ham FC Academy

Published on 21 October 2020

Photograph: Drake Hadeed signed for West Ham FC Academy

JOHN’S, Antigua (October 21, 2020)— The Antigua and Barbuda football fraternity is buoyed by the recent signing of 12-year-old Drake Hadeed to the West Ham FC Academy.

The news is a big deal on the island of 108 square miles, and while the first step towards the striker’s goals of playing professionally, comes after years of preparation. Last year, he transferred to school in England. Before that, for several years, Hadeed’s time has been divided between Antigua and North England, where he was attached to an elite sports performance academy.

Daniel Rogerson, coach of Hadeed’s local academy, North Coast FC, said the youngster copping a coveted spot is massive.

“West Ham U-13’s has 18 spots available in their squad; in England alone, there are literally thousands of boys who have that dream to be where Drake is today, and it’s extremely difficult, and that’s putting it mildly,” Rogerson said.

Hadeed was on an eight-week trial with the club but sealed a deal in one week, no doubt aided by his performance in a practice match against Arsenal.

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