Omani Leacock had every intention of 2020 being his break out year, but COVID-19 forced life as he knew it to cease. However, the attacker hasn’t thrown in the towel just yet, and has every intention of continuing on his quest of playing professional football.
The 22-year-old started playing football from the youth level at Notre Dame FC and gave credit to his former coach Tony Jarvis, who he said played a major role in his development and taught him everything he knew in the game at the primary level.
From there, he entered the gates of The Lester Vaughn School, where Adrian Mapp was also a major influence in his football career, before going on to join the Barbados Defence Force Sports Programme (BDFSP) in 2016 at age 17.
So influential were both men, that it propelled Leacock to be a part of the Barbados Football Association’s national line up from the youth level, straight through to when he got his call up to the top flight team.
“Playing for the BDF is a lot more organized in terms of tactics and game plan, while for me Notre Dame was more freedom to do as I pleased being in the position I play in,” he said.
The Lionel Messi follower said playing with the BDFSP, they kicked to the same beat, breathed the same air and thus played in unison.
“It is different in the national team, but in the BDF we adjust to each other as we’re together so much,” he explained.
Throughout the years, Leacock who has 12 national caps, said he learnt a lot, and had been able to pick up some tricks of the trade both on and off the field.
“Football has been very nice and it has been interesting to see and play alongside different cultures and see how people celebrate the game and the different passions of the game. Here in Barbados, not so much,” he said.
And if there was one thing he could change locally, that would be the motivation of the players.
“Right now the players have all sorts of different challenges and it is real concerns for us the players. What is put in is what would get out, so they need incentives and play accordingly. We would like to have contracts, even if it is a semi-professional league contract, and I believe that would give the players motivation,” he said.
Pre-COVID, the Arsenal fan had every intention of not enlisting in the ranks of the Barbados Defence Force, but rather going where the passion lies.
“I’m thinking the USA is the best place. Right now I am in the process of getting a scholarship to the States, so my destination is to the USA,” he said, while declining to go into any more details about his future pursuits.
He said COVID was a major upset for everything and everyone and he was picking up the pieces to get back on track, especially in his role on the national team.
“Chhhaaa! It upset me in terms of the football. In terms of pushing back training and everything and now we have to start over. We were at a stage of an all-time high, but now we have to start back from scratch with a different momentum and build back the chemistry between us,” he said matter-of-factly.
But, Leacock, who scored his debut goal in the Concacaf Nations League last September and went on to score his second goal a month later, had every confidence Head Coach Russell Latapy would take them exactly where they needed to be and on to greener pastures.
“I am 100 per cent certain that he would get us back to that point. He is a very determined coach, and he has made a big impact on me in my career and my playing style. He has taught me a different role in the midfield. He told me he used to play the same position. He teach me how he used to play it, gave me certain tips and showed me how I don’t have to use my skill in certain situations. He influence me a lot and taught me how to be more patient and how to trust the process,” he said smiling brightly.