By TENAJH SWEETING
Tribune Sports Reporter
VALTINIQUE Simmons turned in an impressive showing at the Samuel P Haven Jr soccer nationals and at the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) soccer championships.
The young athlete had been preparing for moments like this ever since her adolescence. She started her love for the sport at the end of fourth grade going into fifth grade at CH Reeves and has never looked back.
Simmons is only a tenth-grader at CR Walker and has been playing with the national team since the age of 12. Currently, she plays for United FC and has made the national junior and senior team three times.
The young athlete wears many hats as she plays basketball, volleyball, softball, runs track and plays soccer. The various accolades and sporting disciplines primed Simmons for a big week at the Roscow A L Davies national soccer field.
She got to work early as the tenth grader played a big role in her team defeating the Big Red Machine in the Knights’ quest to win consecutive championships.
In their first game of the week, Simmons scored a hat-trick to wrap up St Augustine’s College 3-0. Her teammates supported her efforts as they kept the school scoreless which would be a common theme as the week progressed.
After a brief intermission for the return of the 2023 GSSSA soccer championships, Simmons once again left it all on the field this time against the RM Bailey Pacers.
The Knights came into the matchup as the pennant winners.
Despite playing back-to-back days, the Lady Knights once again collected another win behind the efforts of Simmons.
She pulled out another hat-trick, making it her second in two days of soccer competition this time to secure the championship hardware for her school. The tenth grader also came away with the Most Valuable Player honours.
With only a one-day break between the teams’ next match at the nationals against the 2023 Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS) soccer champions, the Knights were determined to keep the momentum going.
The team rose to the challenge and collected the win over the QC Comets 1-0, booking their ticket to the finals. Simmons scored the lone goal for the team, increasing her count to seven goals in three days.
On the final day, the Lady Knights claimed their Samuel P Haven Jr national high schools championship win after maintaining a clean sheet in the tournament.
Although after the final whistle Simmons and her team looked fatigued, she talked about the overall game and competition. “This game was tough for me because I hurt myself at last night’s game [Friday night],”
She seemed a bit down following not one of her better performances on Friday, but was happy and grateful for the efforts of her teammates.
“I feel like a lot of games in the matter of three weeks back-to-back kind of beat us up but [we] are two-time champions. It’s well-deserved and I am really proud of them,” she said.
The multi-talented athlete amassed four goals in total at the soccer nationals and seven goals overall.
Her next target is to play for United FC in an upcoming tournament. However, she said she might be unable to due to a nagging leg injury.
Although the competition ended on a bittersweet note for the Knights’ athlete, she definitely made her name known and presence felt on the field at the Samuel P Haven Jr high schools soccer nationals and 2023 GSSSA soccer championships.