Do­minic was ‘very spe­cial’

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Shayne Fair­man Gleaner Writer

ST GE­ORGE’S Col­lege’s coach Neville ‘Ber­tis’ Bell has de­scribed his for­mer Man­ning Cup cap­tain, the late Do­minic James, as very spe­cial.

Speak­ing at yes­ter­day’s thanks­giv­ing ser­vice for James’ life at a packed and over­flow­ing Holy Trin­ity Cathedral on North Street, Bell said the young foot­baller played an im­por­tant role in the achieve­ments of St Ge­orge’s Col­lege dur­ing the 2015 school­boy foot­ball sea­son.

“I met Do­minic last June when he came to a train­ing ses­sion at the school, and after find­ing out why he was there, I quickly re­alised he would be an as­set to our pro­gramme, and, boy, he cer­tainly was,” Bell said.”

The long-time Ge­orge’s coach stressed: “He played a huge part in what we thought was a very suc­cess­ful sea­son last year, and (that is) why we were so op­ti­mistic about our chances this year.”

In pay­ing trib­ute to James, Bell read mes­sages from his for­mer team­mates, D’An­dro Se­gree, who got in­jured in the game against Ex­cel­sior on Fri­day and couldn’t at­tend yes­ter­day’s ser­vice said: “Do­minic was more than a friend. He was my brother. Though he is sup­pos­edly in a bet­ter place, I wish he was here.”

Cur­rent cap­tain Alex Mar­shall: “I am elated to have met you and shared so many won­der­ful mo­ments to­gether. Na­tional in­terim coach for Ja­maica’s se­nior foot­ball team Theodore Whit­more (left) giv­ing his sup­port to St Ge­orge’s Col­lege’s coach Neville Bell at the thanks­giv­ing ser­vice for the life of the school’s for­mer Man­ning Cup cap­tain Do­minic James at the Holy Trin­ity Cathedral on North Street, Kingston, yes­ter­day.

Words can’t ex­plain how much I love you. You will al­ways be in my heart, my brother, my

friend, my cap­tain. Rest in peace.”

With the many trib­utes, the

ser­vice which be­gan at 10 a.m. lasted un­til well past 3 p.m.

Also in at­ten­dance at yes­ter­day’s

ser­vice were Op­po­si­tion Leader Por­tia Simp­son Miller, Min­is­ter of Sports Olivia Grange, Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion Ruel Reid, and many other mem­bers of the ed­u­ca­tion and the sport­ing fra­ter­ni­ties.

Grange said the real­ity of James’ loss “weighs heavy on all of us”.

James, who was born on Septem­ber 26, 1997, first at­tended Ja­maica Col­lege (JC) and then left for St Ge­orge’s last year. He died after be­ing rushed to hospi­tal fol­low­ing his col­lapse dur­ing a Man­ning Cup match against Ex­cel­sior High on Septem­ber 20 at the Sta­dium East field.

EMO­TIONAL TRIB­UTE

In an emo­tional trib­ute to James, JC’s coach Miguel Co­ley said the player won many ti­tles at the Hope Road-based school from the Un­der-13 level up­wards.

“His days at Ja­maica Col­lege re­flected an amaz­ing se­ries of championships. For this, we salute you. For his work ethic, for his spirit of want­ing more. su­perb tech­nique, self­less­ness, lead­er­ship, we honour him and give God thanks for such a be­ing,” Co­ley said.

James played for one year in 2013 at Har­bour View and also rep­re­sented Real Mona, Cen­tral Kingston, Bar­bican, Water­house and The Phoenix Academy in his short life.

Clyde Jurei­dini, gen­eral man­ager of the Har­bour View Foot­ball Club, said, “We are

thank­ful that he graced us with his pres­ence for the short time, as he did for six other clubs that are rep­re­sented here, along with the JFF, which makes seven.”

Mean­while, in­terim na­tional men’s se­nior coach, Theodore Whit­more, who also lost a son un­der tragic cir­cum­stances, told The Sun­day Gleaner that Ja­maicans should sup­port the James’ fam­ily.

“I have been down that road, so I know what it feels like and I know what the James fam­ily is feel­ing now, but we just have to be strong as a foot­ball fra­ter­nity and just give full sup­port,” Whit­more said.

Ja­maica Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion South Cen­tral Con­fed­er­a­tion chair­man Michael Rick­etts, who rep­re­sented JFF boss Cap­tain Ho­race Bur­rell, shared a let­ter from FIFA pres­i­dent Gianni In­fantino.

Ac­cord­ing to Rick­etts, world foot­ball’s gov­ern­ing body’s head “was moved by the news and real­ity of Do­minic’s pass­ing”.

“Dear Pres­i­dent Bur­rell, please ac­cept my deep­est con­do­lences on hear­ing that Do­minic James, a stu­dent and cap­tain, has passed away at just 18,” the trib­ute read.

Mean­while, an in­con­solable girl­friend, Shadae Ash­ley, said it was heart-rend­ing to know her boyfriend of four years was gone.

“We have been to­gether four years and I am still in shock,” re­vealed Ash­ley, who will cel­e­brate her 19th birth­day to­mor­row.

“Words can’t ex­plain the pain I feel to know he is gone,” she said, while adding that she hangs out with Do­minic’s friends and talks to help deal with the grief.

JER­MAINE BARNABY/FREE­LANCE PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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