"When I got the award, I was like, yes! this is another major achievement for me."
Those are the words of Excelsior's High School Manning Cup player, Cadine Graham, who was celebrating his success after winning the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award at the Digicel Chelsea Football Clinic one-week training camp, which ended in Barbados last week Monday.
The camp was held under the guidance of Chelsea's senior international development officer and Digicel Academy head coach, David Monk.
Sixteen-year-old Graham was among three Jamaicans selected to participate in the camp, which included 39 youngsters from across the Caribbean.
Ryan Brown of Glenmuir High and Carru Barrett from Maggotty High were the Jamaicans at the camp in Barbados.
Crafty central midfielder Graham, who led Excelsior to the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA)/Colts Under-16 title last year, believes hard work and dedication were key factors that contributed to him winning the award.
Graham won the ISSA/Under-14 cricket and basketball competitions with Excelsior in 2012. He also led Holy Family Primary to the Institute of Sports football title in 2009.
"It means that out of 39 players in the Caribbean, I am the best in the Caribbean at this stage, and this is a great achievement for me," said Graham, a resident of Rae Town, in Kingston.
"I am very happy for this because I have worked very hard for it. I just did the simple things and I just listened to my coach Lebert Halliman's advice and it paid off," said the soft-spoken player.
The talented Graham, who is an admirer of Barcelona midfielder
"It was a great experience for me and I learnt a lot from it. I was taught a lot of things by the coaches, including how to get my first touch properly, be patient whenever I have possession of the ball and how to attack the space," Graham said.
"It was a week of hard training, but I enjoyed it a lot. The coaches even compared me to
Continuing he said: "They say they were impressed with my performance because of how I was keeping possession of the ball and not forcing the game when I am in possession of the ball."
Graham, who made a number of the substitute appearances for his school in the Manning Cup and Walker Cup knockout competitions, has now set his sights on securing a spot on Jamaica's Under-20 team.
"I would love to play for the national Under-20 team because I think being the MVP of this camp has taken my game to a new level," Graham said. "I know that I have the abilities and the skills that will be required to make the Under-20 team."
Graham currently represents Rae Town in the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association youth leagues and he hopes to become an accountant.
- Robert Bailey