Nembhard achieves FIFA dream – Jamaican becomes youngest ever in the world to reach milestone
Photo: Veralton Nembhard receives his FIFA Badge from Jamaica Football Federation President Captain Horace Burrell. Nembhard became the youngest referee ever to receive a FIFA badge on Saturday.
Veralton Nembhard became the youngest person in the World to earn a FIFA Referee badge at the age of 26 when he was bestowed the honour on Saturday, during the half time break of the Under-20 match between Jamaica and Cuba at the Waterhouse Mini-Stadium. Nembhard was the man in the middle for that game which Jamaica won 2-1.
The graduate of the University of the West Indies who is a father of two boys began following his father Texchus to referee training at the tender age of four so it is no wonder that he followed in the footsteps the person to whom he says he owes everything.
“I owe it all to my dad and my mom, they have been a pillar of support every step of the way. I can’t even describe how I feel right now, it is a massive achievement,” a beaming Nembhard told Yardie Sports.
Nembhard represented Cornwall College in the DaCosta Cup before heading to UWI to pursue his degree in Psychology. He continued to play the game, representing his hall of residence Taylor Hall and the University but never hung up his whistle.
Since leaving UWI he has hung up his boots in favour of the whistle and became the youngest person to take charge of a DaCosta Cup final at the age of 24 in the 2012 final. He set another record by becoming the first person to do back to back finals the next year. This added to his previous achievements of being the only person to do the U-14 and U-16 finals twice.
The Manchester United fan is elated to have achieved his goal so soon but is fully aware that this is just the beginning.
“I dreamt of this moment for years but I never imagined that it would happen so soon and I am sure it’s going to come with added pressure. But I am ready for it, so bring it on,” the confident young man said.
The humble and appreciative Taylorite thanks a number of people for their continued support that has seen him achieve his first goal.
“My training partners Trevor Ellis and younger brother Dondre who are also referees keep me focused and motivated. My father Texchus Nembhard, Peter Prendergast and Dave Meikle are three people I want to thank for their continued guidance and I cannot leave out my cousin and fellow referee Valdin Legister who is also a great source of motivation.”
With his international journey now set to begin, Nembhard is totally focused on establishing his international credibility and advancing Jamaica in the world of football officiating.