Harrigan chases balance in move to Fruta Conquerors
By Jemima Holmes
Some of the best players are known for their sacrifices in the name of better; moving out of their comfort zone to achieve whatever it is that they aspire to. In recent weeks, during the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) transfer window, we have seen similar moves.
One player who took the opportunity to make a step up was Jerome Harrigan, who was tasked with making a difficult decision between familiarity and betterment.
“Knowing that BV is my home town, I felt a way in leaving, but I have to leave for the better, so I made the move,” an emotional Harrigan stated when speaking with Guyana Times Sport about his transfer to Fruta Conquerors Football Club.
The 17-year-old utilised the recent football transfer window to make the move which he described as for ‘developmental reasons’.
“I would say BV doesn’t have a programme right now, but when I saw top players elevating, I felt a way. But Fruta is all about development, to develop my football as well. So, I said, I’ll go to Fruta and be a better player,” he further explained.
Harrigan, who fell in love with the sport in his younger years after watching his elder brothers and uncles playing, even had the opportunity to lead the Annandale Secondary School football team for a year as captain – an experience from which he gained immense knowledge.
“It showed up a lot about my leadership and my communication as well. Like talking rapidly to the players just pushed me to be a captain of any team. It pushed me to play a different type of football, not just playing with my feet. Like just being better academically as well,” Harrigan explained.
He shared, “I mostly did the book work with them as well, the tactical things and it pushed me a lot.”
When probed about the role he would like to play in Fruta’s team, Harrigan revealed that he was open to serving in any position.
“If I’m called upon to play any part in the field, even in the goal, you know I’m always ready,” the centre back joked.
The coronavirus pandemic has hindered many athletes by limiting their playing and Harrigan is no exception. Nonetheless, the teenager divulged to this publication how he managed to stay fit and balance his schooling at the same time.
“It was very difficult. Because in the afternoon, I would do couple minutes of work, but classes wiped it off. So, in the morning, I got up and did 30 minutes of ball movement. But it was very difficult, even now.”
The Government Technical Institute (GTI) student continued, “I don’t want to miss any classes ‘cause those teachers seem extremely strict. When it comes to football you know, it’s hard to see your brother and cousins going with a boots to play. But I knocked my mind and said I have to get my grades; football will always come.”
Although he is hyper-focused on maintaining his educational focus, Harrigan doesn’t want to be caught unfit when competitive football does return.
“I try to keep fit ‘cause I know when football does return fully, it will be a difficult task for some players and I don’t want to be in that group,” he reasoned.
Although not being able to make a list of youngsters who are being groomed for national duties, Harrigan is optimistic about his future in the sport, but reiterated his commitment to his education.
“Like when there’s trials and these things, there goes school again. Many times, Coach tells me to come and train and I can’t make it.
“So, when the team picked, I wasn’t surprised like I can’t see my name, I didn’t train. Lots of people asking ‘how you ain’t in the national team?’ I would say I’m national quality, yeah, but when it comes to school, my mother don’t play,” he cheekily recounted.
“They motivate me a lot, you know now, it could be next competition, Under 20 or whatever, but hopefully we (he and his brother, Jamar Harrigan) get to play together in the national team,” he added.
Highlighting his hopes to balance every aspect of his life, the centre back noted that getting a scholarship would be his ideal situation in future.
“I think that’s an ideal something that would make me play better football as well. When I get a scholarship, it would put me in the spotlight. And you know I keep my schoolwork intact as well, so that wouldn’t be a problem. Fruta comes again: I’m at a club that pushes development, so I think I will come through with that,” the optimistic Harrigan told this publication.