One of the island’s most promising young footballers, Gregory Cousins Jr, today left Jamaica to take up a full scholarship at Bethel University in Tennessee, United States.
He’s departed two days after scoring three goals that helped Garvey Maceo High School secure a 5-0 win over Manning’s in the final of the prestigious DaCosta Cup competition. It is the Clarendon school’s second time lifting the all-important trophy, having done so back in 2007.
Cousins is the top DaCosta Cup scorer this season, with a total 20 goals and eight assists.
His feat has not gone unnoticed in his school community and also in his native district of Water Lane, Clarendon.
His relatives, team-mates and other well-wishers yesterday gathered at his home to shower him with praise and to wish him well as he travels abroad.
“I feel good to know I bring my team to the final and we won it,” Cousins, the captain, told The Beacon last evening. “My community is very happy; every one is gathering around and showing their respect and their support.”
Cousins intends to become either an entrepreneur or a professional footballer of an ilk similar to that of Cristiano Ronaldo and Alex Sandro – his favourite international footballers.
He began dabbling in the sport when he was about nine years old, but he was 14 when he played his first DaCosta Cup match.
“I used to go to ball-ground and the older players encouraged me to push forward, and so I get to love the sport,” he recalled.
Cousins played DaCosta Cup for Garvey Maceo in 2018 and 2019 before the novel coronavirus pandemic forced organizers to postpone the tournament for a year.
The just-concluded competition provided the centre forward a grand opportunity to leave sixth form with a bang – and he did just that.
His hat-trick last Friday was not his only high moment this season. In the quarter-finals of the competition on December 18, for example, he scored five of the 12 goals his team netted against St Thomas Technical, which did not trouble the score sheet.
Cousins attributed his success to his ability to “just stay calm and place the ball in the back of the net”.
He has not confined himself to schoolboy football.
He represented Clarendon, Vere United in the Premier League, his Water Lane community in corner league, and Jamaica in under-17 football.
Though mindful that he still has much to accomplish, Cousins, a past student of Alley Primary School in Clarendon, encouraged other young footballers to keep their dreams alive. “Stay focused and work hard,” he further advised.
He also told The Beacon that, despite having “challenging” moments during his captaincy at Garvey Maceo, he managed to earn his team’s respect.
His mother, Karen Heron-Thompson, is ecstatic about the feats attained by her first of two children.
She was at St Elizabeth Technical High School Sports Complex last Friday when Cousins scored his hat-trick.
“My phone was blowing up [with calls]. It is a tremendous feeling,” the mother said. “My son worked hard and has reached this far. It is just for him to take it from here and know exactly what he wants in life… The best is yet to come; I am expecting great things from him. I am his number one supporter; his biggest fan.”
The mother also described Cousins as being humble, adding that the family is from a humble background.
The young achiever’s school, in the meantime, said: “Garvey Maceo High School is proud of you (Cousins) and your achievements. You have piloted the DaCosta Cup team as captain and leading goal scorer to the finals of the competition… We wish you well in your future endeavours.”
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