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Ardenne's Priestly staying focused

By PAUL-ANDRE WALKER, Staff Reporter

Ardenne's Akeem Priestly at Oberndorf 2003

ARDENNE'S AKEEM PRIESTLY is a most promising young footballer.

He started playing in the streets of Harbour View before going on to represent Preparatory. He played in all the age divisions for Harbour View from Under-12 to 20.

National caps

Priestly has so far played three Manning Cups, one at Wolmer's and his last two at Ardenne. At the end of the last schoolboy season he played in the Wray and Nephew National Premier League and scored two goals.

He has added national caps to his already impressive resume, making both the National Under-17 and 20 teams.

"It feels good to represent my country and I hope to do so again, not just at the junior level but at the senior level as well," he told STAR Sports.

At 18, Akeem is the unofficial leader of the Ardenne team. He is an upper sixth form student and takes school seriously, despite wanting a proffessional carreer in football.

Supporting his family

His only goal in life is to be able to support his family.

"I only want to support my family and if it is football that allows me to do that then so be it," said the frank youngster.

When asked about the difference between playing for Ardenne and Wolmer's, he said at Wolmer's there were many good players so he wasn't under a lot of pressure.

"At Ardenne, however, there is more responsibility placed on me because I'm the main player."

Akeem says he has learnt to remain focused and separate business (football) from pleasure (girls) and wants other players in Jamaica to learn the same lesson.

"The attitudes of Jamaican players are wrong. Jamaica's football has a problem with financing but the biggest problem is the attitude of the players towards football. They don't take it seriously enough," he said.

At the end of the Manning Cup season Akeem would like to play for Harbour View in the Premier League and hopefully make an impression.

He said it will be tough to fit into a team in the middle of the season but he's not afraid of hard work. So far, Akeem has scored seven times in nine matches for Ardenne.

If he continues in this fashion, we might have another national star in the making.