Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Tributes flow for STGC captain

Published:Thursday | September 22, 2016 | 9:00 AMShayne Fairman
Members of St George’s College’s Manning Cup team moved to tears after hearing the news of Dominic James’ passing, during the ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup football match against Excelsior High School at Stadium East on Tuesday.

St George's College's ISSA/FLOW Manning Cup football captain Dominic James, whose sudden passing shook the nation, yesterday received larger-than-life tributes from the local football community and beyond.

The Holy Trinity Cathedral was packed to capacity, while scores stood outside as the tearful attended the thanksgiving devotion for the life of the fallen St George's player.

James was affectionately called 'Delly' by teammates and friends, and 'Alessandro', after his middle name, by coach Neville 'Bertis' Bell.

He died Tuesday while leading his school against Excelsior High at Stadium East. He would have been 19 next Monday, September 26.

According to St George's Head Boy Odane Lalor: "It shakes the schoolboy population. It is the tragic loss of a football hero.

"He was seen as somebody who would have made a difference if he was with us," he outlined. "Delly's smile was contagious.

"He is always smiling, and happy birthday when it comes, Delly. Keep on smiling," Lalor told The Gleaner.

Acting Principal Dave Soares called the school mood "downcast", noting that "Dominic will always live in our hearts".

"He was ... [an] avid footballer, good leader, so he will live in our hearts. Moving forward, we will have to decide whether we have a memorial scholarship in his name, that's in conjunction with his parents, of course," he explained.

He was backed by old boy, Opposition spokesperson on education, Ronald Thwaites, who acknowledged the unity that "James' death had brought".

HONOURING JAMES

"It would be a good thing to endow a sports scholarship for the most disciplined student or something in his honour. Doing that would be a considerable remembering," outlined Thwaites.

Education Minister and former Jamaica College principal, Ruel Reid, described James as "a standout student and leader in the classroom during his time at JC", prior to transferring in 2014.

"For me, Dominic died as a hero in his own way. May his soul rest in peace," Reid said.

Newly installed Jamaica Teachers' Association (JTA) President, Howard Isaacs paid tribute, while an inconsolable goalkeeper, John Wilson, said "captain Dominic is always smiling, very humble and important to our team. I can't believe he is gone. The team is going to miss him."

Meanwhile, former Red Stripe Premier League champions, Waterhouse Football Club, of which James was a senior player during the 2014-15 season, paid tribute. He also played for the club's Under-20 team, winning the championship in 2014.

"To his parents and immediate family, our hearts go out to you, and our condolences to the entire St George's College team and wider school body," said Donovan White, club president.

Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) and its affiliates extended "sincere condolences to the family, schoolmates and friends of the late Dominic James at his sudden and untimely passing."

Students from St George's, neighbouring Kingston College and Holy Trinity High, Convent of Mercy Academy Alpha, along with Wolmer's Boys, Excelsior High, Jamaica College, Calabar High and Bridgeport High School turned out yesterday, along with a number of other high school principals.

Carlo Redwood, vice-president of marketing for Manning Cup sponsor FLOW, was also in attendance.

"Our thoughts are with Dominic's family, friends and the wider St Georges College community at this time, and we express our deepest sympathies to them. We are very saddened by the passing of this promising young Jamaican talent," a release from FLOW said.

There was also social-media outpouring on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, including past players Gregory Messam Jr, Chevon Stewart, and others.