Sunday, August 5, 2012

Vincent O. Cooper - 1972

Vincent Cooper
One of the many positive experiences I remember at CVI during the early 1970s was playing soccer on the CVI team, coached by Mr. Eugene Werts. The team consisted of a mix of outstanding players from various Caribbean islands, Guyana, and North America. Team members included Desmond Skeete, George Kenny, Dennis Clarke, Nellon Bowry, Howard Gumbs, Bernard Jones, Lawrence Huntley, and several others.

At that time, the CVI team, which was arguably stronger than the other teams on St. Thomas, did not compete officially in the local varsity soccer league. However, Coach Werts organized friendly matches against such Puerto Rico teams as the University of Puerto Rico, Inter-American University, and Catholic University. CVI team won most of these matches, which were usually played at CVI. The CVI soccer team also traveled to other islands to play friendly matches. One of the two trips that I recall from the early 1970s is a trip to St. Kitts, where we played two matches. One match was against Island Side, and the other against Santos. The CVI team tied with Island Side, but lost to Santos, the strongest team on St. Kitts at that time.

The second trip that I recall was made to the Windward Islands. Coach Werts made arrangements for the CVI team to play friendly matches in St. Lucia, Grenada, and Trinidad. We played against the St. Lucia Island B team and won. We also defeated the team from Presentation College in Grenada. The Trinidad match was canceled.

Vincent Cooper -
CVI Yearbook 1970
From time to time, I still smile when I remember a particularly funny incident that involved the CVI soccer team, LIAT Airways, and a restaurant at the airport in Antigua. The CVI Soccer team was traveling on LIAT from St. Thomas to St. Lucia and Grenada, with one stop in Antigua. After we arrived in Antigua, we learned that our connecting flight to St. Lucia was more than two hours late. Our coach contacted LIAT officials to explain that we could not stay overnight in Antigua because we needed to arrive in St. Lucia that same afternoon in order to meet our obligations. Our coach also pointed out that he was travelling with 15 soccer players who had not eaten since morning. In response, the LIAT supervisor made arrangements for the team to have lunch at the airport restaurant, a decision he no doubt later regretted. In less than 20 minutes, all the shelves in the restaurant were empty, the refrigerator was empty, and the kitchen was empty. The entire supply of sandwiches and drinks had been speedily devoured by the soccer team. Consequently, the airport restaurant, the only one available at that time, had to close for the rest of the day.

Dr. Cooper is now a Professor of English and Linguistics at UVI.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realize the CVI/UVI soccer team played such an important role in inter-island varsity games. That must have created a great bond among the players and wonderful public relations for CVI. I wonder if such events continue today.

    I also remember that Eugene Werts also played a great role in building the CVI/UVI basketball team. There was fierce varsity competition.

    Those days are part of the best memories of my life.

    Althea Romeo-Mark, Switzerland


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