Young J’can signs with Bayern Munich

November 6th, 2011

Kevauhgn Atkinson(background) with his Phoenix Academy jamaican teamates Kyle butler (centre) and Leon Bailey in Austria.

YOUNG Jamaican footballer Kevaughn Atkinson has sign a five-year contract with top European club Bayern Munich for an undisclosed fee and will join the German giants in January.

Atkinson, 16, a former Calabar High student from the Craig Butler-led Phoenix Football Academy in Jamaica, was signed from Austrian Bundesliga 2 outfit USK Anif.

Atkinson, who is playing senior football for Anif and has scored 13 goals from nine games, was elated when he spoke to the Sunday Observer via Skype on the Internet from Austria.

“I feel very good. It’s a dream come true for me. I have been preparing for this for a while. It feels very good to sign for a professional team and every Jamaican must just be focused if they want to be a professional footballer,” said Atkinson.

The young footballer, while being wooed by Germany’s most successful club, was taken to the Allianz Arena in Munich, with a capacity of 69,000.

The stadium will be the venue for the 2012 UEFA Champions League final.

“It was pretty cool. It’s a big stadium with some special lights,” said Atkinson, referring to Bayern stadium which is the first of its kind with full changing lighting on the outside which transforms the venue to look like a glass full of lights.

In September when the Sunday Observer broke the story about Butler and his four youngsters in Austria, he said then that his pioneering move into Austria — next door footballing powerhouse Germany — was to provide a bridge and window of opportunity for Jamaicans players.

That dream is now a reality for Butler and the Phoenix Academy.

“They (Bayern Munich) send persons to come look at him and they said they wanted to gobble him up early before anybody else wanted him. We made the decision because Bayern Munich is one of the top five clubs in the world,” said Butler.

“The boys are really performing good here because they now that the boys back home are depending on their performances to get in,” Butler added.

Atkinson, or ‘Sharky’, as he his called by his peers, was highlighted in an Austrian newspaper for his exploits.

“This is phenomenal. A big newspaper did an article on him headlined ‘Sharky, the Boy with the killer instincts’. He is just a goalscoring machine,” said Butler.

And while Atkinson has got his dream move, the other Phoenix Academy boys are doing very well.

Another former Calabar student, Romario McKnight, 16, will be leaving Austria for France next week for a trial stint with top club Lille and said he is “all set for next week’ and confident of performing well.

Meanwhile, Leon Bailey, 14, who in 2010 as a 12-year-old remarkably won MVPs in three different age categories in the KSAFA Under-13, Under-15 and Under-17 leagues, is creating waves in the Austrian Under-15 league.

Bailey, a former Kingston College student, has rattled in an amazing 54 goals in just eight matches. He was set to play another match yesterday and promised to score at least five goals.

The youngster, looking relaxed via Skype, said his hard work is paying off, although he misses home.

“… If you want to be a professional footballer you have to do what you have to do, sacrifice,” noted Bailey.

Kyle, 13, Butler’s son, is equally impressive despite not scoring so many goals. He is the Under-15 team captain and is fourth in the league in scoring and top in assists.

Most of Bailey’s goals are a result of his vision. “It’s great I am enjoying the football up here,” said the former St George’s College student.

Kyle, who is a big Manchester United fan and idolises the Barcelona pair of Cesc Fabregas and Xavi Hernandez, said he will now be a fan of Bayern Munich since his friend Atkinson is joining them.

Butler, who was banned by KSAFA for taking them to court over an affiliation dispute in 2007, cannot participate in any organised football activity in Jamaica until the ban is lifted.

But the former Jamaica College Manning Cupper will be arranging for his Phoenix Under-19 team to tour Austria between January 3-20 where they will play five matches in an effort to expose more youth.

“We will sit back and watch them fight over them,” said Butler, in anticipation that several clubs will be interested in signing these players.


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