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Proud mother of football scholarship recipient says college coach weighed heavily on family’s decision

By Neto Baptiste 

Mother of the country’s latest football scholarship recipient, Molvie Barthley, said the decision to send her son, Dajun, to the West Virginia Wesleyan College largely hinged on information she was able to compile on both the programme and the individual who coaches the team.

The soccer mom encouraged parents making similar decisions to ensure they take time to get the necessary information needed to make an educated decision based on both the values and goals they hope their child or children would achieve.

“They had a good programme, they had a good academic structure, but the coach [Gavin Donaldson], he put that school over the top for me, because you want to send your child to somebody you know who is responsible, who is going to look out for them without showing favouritism of course, but that you would feel comfortable with your child being in that person’s care; so the coach really put West Virginia over the top for me,” she said. 

It was revealed on Sunday that Dajun, a former Antigua and Barbuda under 15 football captain, has received a scholarship to attend the West Virginia Wesleyan College. 

Molvie credited football association executive member and a presidential hopeful leading into the body’s already constitutionally due election, Barbara Coates, as one of the main sources of information behind her decision.

“I have to give thanks where thanks is due and Barbara Coates was the one who really (because he had already been accepted to a junior college in England and then his father and I made the decision that because of the Covid situation that we would prefer to have him in the US), so I reached out to Barbara and started to put out my fielders as to what was available,” she said.

“She [Barbara Coates] had experience with the Free Kick Foundation so I started to find out what was available, what’s the process and from there we applied to a lot of colleges and, of course, all of them who have a soccer programme and he just basically had to make his choice,” she added. 

The proud mother also credited the Villa Lions Soccer Academy and coach Sowerby Gomes for playing an instrumental role in molding her son as a player.

“Sowerby had a very active programme because every week there was something going on where they either had a tournament, they had to travel to somewhere, and it was taxing but you always think of in the long run. I don’t want this child to grow up thinking, ‘I could have played professional football but my parents just did not do enough to get me there’,” Molvie said.

Dajun Barthley was the country’s Most Outstanding Student Athlete in 2020, capturing a Gold Award, as recognised by the Ministry of Education. 

The now 17 year old captained the Antigua and Barbuda Under 15’s to the 2019 Concacaf Championships at IMG Academy, and was recently involved with the National Senior Team’s preparation for the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. 

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