Waterhouse 15-year-old goalkeeper enjoys nervous JPL debut
WHEN 15-YEAR-OLD Kevin Hibbert got the news last week that he would be keeping in goal for Waterhouse FC in their Jamaica Premier League (JPL) game against Chapelton Maroons on Sunday, the Haile Selassie student said he immediately started shaking...
WHEN 15-YEAR-OLD Kevin Hibbert got the news last week that he would be keeping in goal for Waterhouse FC in their Jamaica Premier League (JPL) game against Chapelton Maroons on Sunday, the Haile Selassie student said he immediately started shaking with nervousness.
After all was done and dusted, Hibbert conceded two goals. However, his team came away with a vital 3-2 win, thanks to a double strike from Shaqueil Bradford to lift ‘Firehouse’ to 27 points and sixth in the league standings.
Hibbert, who hails from Payne Land in Kingston, was the only goalkeeper on the Waterhouse roster on Sunday after number-one custodian Kemar Foster was on national duty and reserve keeper Michael Panton left the island early last week.
That meant Hibbert would have to deputise between the sticks, and the former Bull Bay U13 player said he was nervous beyond belief ahead of his big league debut.
“When I got the news that I was going to be keeping goal I felt good at first but I was also nervous and was shaking but I just calmed down and grabbed the opportunity with both hands.”
Without a doubt, Hibbert would have been one of the youngest players to make a Premier League appearance. However, assistant coach Damion Gordon knew that the youngster would have risen to the occasion.
“When there is darkness there is also a spotlight and we are grateful to have this 15-year-old. We wanted a clean sheet for him but we didn’t get that, but we got the victory which is good for his confidence. For the club, this means we are moving in the right direction because we always facilitate youth with experience.”
Hibbert donned the number 40 shirt for the encounter. That number is the current age of his goalkeeping idol, former Chelsea shot-stopper Petr Čech.
The young gloveman was hapless and dived in vain in the 25th minute when Kristoff Graham beat him with a low pile driver to send Chapelton Marrons in front.
The 15-year-old Hibbert could not prevent the second goal either as Waterhouse conceded in the 83rd minute. Bearing his lack of culpability for any of the goals, the young gloveman felt his first outing was good.
“I must say that my first game was good and it was a good experience playing in the Premier League. Even though I was nervous in the first half, my coach just told me to have fun and that is what I did.”