Seventeen-year-old Carl Hinkson, an upper sixth-form student at Harrison College, is the latest member of the Barbados Soccer Academy (BSA) to gain a football scholarship in the United States. He will be enrolling at the Southern Illinois University.
Hinkson wants to be a professional soccer player and also hopes to secure a degree in mechanical or biomedical engineering. Hinkson has been a member of the soccer academy for seven years. His previous sports involvement included track and field, and playing both cricket and football from age eight at St Jude’s Primary School.
He moved on to Harrison College after completing the Common Entrance examination but not before he had received awards for being the most outstanding footballer and sportsman of the year at his primary school graduation.
At Harrison College he later gained eight CXCs and played for the football team during his entire school life there. The highlights of his school football came in 2009 and 2011 when the school won the U14 and U16 titles respectively and Hinkson received awards for most goals and MVP in each tournament.
Hinkson joined the BSA in 2008 and subsequently represented it at every age group level. During his seven years at the academy, he was a member of teams which won the Banks Tournament in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The academy were also victors of the prestigious Barbados Independence Cup in 2010 (U13) and 2012 (U15).
The individual awards continued to flow as Hinkson was adjudged Best Defender in the 2009 Banks Tournament, and Best Striker and MVP in the 2012 Banks Tournament and in both successful campaigns of the Barbados Cup.
Hinkson first received international exposure when he was selected as one of the 20 players to tour with the soccer academy to the professional MLS outlet, Houston Dynamo in Houston Texas in 2012. Major success at school and club level led to him being selected for the U17 national team, which, after qualifying in St. Kitts, participated in the CONCACAF Final held in Panama in April 2013.
He was also selected for the national U20 team at the age of 17 and was one of three Barbadians to attend the Digicel Showcase conducted by England international John Barnes at Kensington Oval last year.
Jabez “Jack” Bovell, chief executive officer of the BSA said the breakthrough for Hinkson came on the tour last year to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he participated in the CASA Invitational. The BSA finished third and various coaches expressed interest in Hinkson, including head coach at Southern Illinois University, Mario Sanchez.