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TWELVE-year-old Jadyn Whyte is a rising star in youth football.

He has already mastered ball control and his shot-stopping ability as a goalkeeper has been described by his coach as phenomenal. His dream is to play for the national football team.

Jadyn’s first goal is to pass for Presentation College, San Fernando when he writes the SEA exam on May 3. He has already set a high standard for himself as a standard five student of Point Fortin Anglican Primary School.

He has been competitive in class, as on the field, attaining a trophy for outstanding academic performance in 2016, and representing the school in the national word championships and mental mathematics competitions.

As the goalkeeper for Uprising Youth Football Academy, he tasted victory in 2015 when the team from Guapo, where he lives, won the Republic Bank Youth Football tournament. Two years later they placed second in the competition.

“I know have a responsibility to my team. I know they are depending on me so I always do my best,” Jadyn told Newsday Kids.

He has liked football since he was four.

“I remember standing in my yard and watching a group of men playing football. I was amazed how they moved the ball with their feet. When I got my very first football I was so happy all I wanted to do was kick the ball. I would go with my ball in the yard and practice kicking the ball. I practised for hours some days.”

When Jadyn was eight, his mother, Timesha Whyte, enrolled him in the academy. He impressed the coaches which his ability to block and kick. He studies the game and watches replays of international matches. “He is always glued to the screen and anxiously watches how the footballers plan each move on the field. Football is his world,” said his proud mother.

Jadyn balances academics and sport on a strict schedule: training on Saturdays and weekdays on evenings, schoolwork also on weekends and after training in the week.

His coach Sheldon Mitchell praised Jadyn’s discipline and humility.

“He is extremely talented. He is also a great team player who has brought home many victories to us,” said Mitchell. “Jadyn has so much potential and he has far to go. I am proud to have him under my wings.”

Jadyn hopes to be like German footballer Marc-André ter Stegen, the goalkeeper for Spanish club Barcelona and the German national team.

“I try to watch what he does on the field, how he moves the ball and when I’m playing football I apply some of those same moves in training and matches,” Jadyn said.

He is grateful for his teachers, coach and family’s support.

“My mom is one of my biggest mentors she is always there pushing me to be my best on the field and in school. At games I could hear her cheering me on in the crowd,” he said.

Jadyn already plans to play football at secondary school, hopefully with Presentation, and then for the country.

“I want to be a professional goalkeeper.”


SOURCE: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday