Bridgeport Manning Cup contenders
Ten years ago, Bridgeport High School won the Manning Cup with a team captained by Kenardo Forbes and including Theo Brown.
Now a stalwart at Waterhouse Football Club, Brown feels his old school has a chance to win the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/FLOW Manning Cup this year.
Speaking from experience, he says victory for Bridgeport would be well received by the community.
According to Brown, the 2016 team has to believe in itself.
"They have to believe in their goal, if they want to achieve it and their first goal was to be in the Super Cup," he asserted.
"They achieved that, so basically their next goal is to achieve the Super Cup and to win the Manning Cup," he said.
He recalls how good he felt when Bridgeport beat Excelsior High 3-1 to win the Manning Cup in 2006.
"It was a nice bunch of guys," he reminisced on a unit including Forbes, Theophilus Samuels, Ricardo Martin, Andre Clennon and a young Darren Mattocks.
"It was a family, not just a team, so it was easy for us to achieve that goal," he noted.
Anthony Patrick was the coach when Brown and his Bridgeport teammates lifted the Manning Cup in 2006 and Brown credits Patrick for ushering in an era of fine football at the school.
Patrick is now coaching St Catherine High School, another team in the second round of the Manning Cup.
"He's a great youth coach," Brown praised.
"You have to look out for him," he offered as an estimation of how good St Catherine could be.
Though Bridgeport lost 0-1 to a prolific Kingston College team in the Walker Cup semi-final earlier this week, Brown thinks the boys following his footsteps at Bridgeport could succeed. He hopes they start well in the second round.
"You have to try to win your first two games and make yourself sure of the semi-final," he instructed.
“Bridgeport will meet KC again as the schools are both part of the same second round group. St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) and Charlie Smith High School are also in that group.
This season, coached by Garnet Lawrence, Bridgeport have impressed by winning an ultra competitive Manning Cup preliminary round group G. Lawrence's players amassed 23 points to finish four clear of Hydel High, who edged St Jago High for second on goal difference. The coordinated team play earned high commendation from Hydel High’s coach, Donovan Duckie.
He said: "There's a quality team, hands down."
To advance to the Walker Cup semi-final, Bridgeport outplayed Denham Town High School 2-0.
Brown would be overjoyed if the 2016 Bridgeport squad could win the Manning Cup.
"They're not just playing for themselves," he explained. “They're playing for the whole Bridgeport, the whole community. It would be a great achievement, not for me alone, but for a lot of past students."