Manhattan Beach

A journey for the love of the game

October 30, 2023 Andy Furman
The Kingsborough Community College lighthouse
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MANHATTAN BEACH — It was a 2,211-mile journey. And if you’re wondering, that’s the distance from Trinidad and Tobago to Brooklyn. More specifically, Manhattan Beach. Make it Oriental Boulevard – the home of Kingsborough Community College.

That’s the trek DeVon Charles made — he did for the love of a sport. Soccer.

“My father was already in the United States,” Charles, who just finished his fourth and most successful season as soccer coach for The Wave, told the Brooklyn Eagle. “I wanted to play soccer here in the United States.”

So, after completing his four years of secondary school at Fatima College, well, Charles took his cleats and ended up at Kingsborough. As a player, he was a City University of New York Athletic Conference all-star.

“Soccer has always been my love,” he said. “I played in the Caribbean and Granda.”

His knowledge of the game has translated from player to teacher and coach. The men’s soccer team at Kingsborough ended their season with 10 wins, six losses and a tie. They were CUNYAC runners-up and a semifinalist in Region XV.

“We lost to Nassau CC in the region semis,” Charles said. “But we’ll be back.”
That’s his promise – and you just have to believe him.

The young Wave were able to double their win total from the 2022 season that saw them missing out on the CUNYAC Championship game by the narrowest of margins.

The success came easy for The Wave – and Charles.

“We became more than a team,” he said, “we actually became a family. We made sacrifices.

“To succeed in becoming a student-athlete,” he continued, “sacrifices have to be made for one another.”

And Charles said he wasn’t at all surprised by his team’s success.

“Success,” he said, “that was our main goal, to get the to the CUNYAC championships. And our hard work paid off.”

Keithlend Cesar, a sophomore from Brooklyn’s Sunset High School, was named First-Team All-Region and was the CUNYAC Player of the Year.

But Cesar wasn’t the only ‘family member’ to achieve success.

Andy Nebblett, a frosh from Brooklyn’s Pace was Honorable Mention All-Region and Kayia Requena a freshman from Brooklyn’s CAAS made the Sportsmanship team.

But there’s more.

Nebblett and Requena were tabbed to the CUNYAC all-star team – Requena was Sportsman of the Year.

Joining that crew on the all-star team – Rony Sam Theodore a freshman from Germany and sophomore Joseph Pierre from Brooklyn’s Rachel Carson.

The 21-man roster includes no less than 17 from Brooklyn – there’s one member from Albania, one from Germany and one from Ukraine.

As for the talent here as compared to Charles’ homeland, he was quick to say: “We had more talent at home; that’s because everyone grew up on soccer. More players. And stronger players.”

But maybe not hungrier players.

Charles says he’ll be spending the off-season recruiting for the next Wave. That shouldn’t be a problem looking at his almost all-Brooklyn roster.
He could probably do that recruiting on a tank of gas.

The one problem – no scholarships – at least athletic – can be offered at Kingsborough.

“I always wanted to teach the younger generation the game of soccer,” he said. “I played at Mercy College and think I can help these kids get to the next level of performance.”

Some people think he’s already done that.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR

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