Angelo Doyle truly triumphed in the midst of adversity in 2021.
The 28-year-old Chapel, a resident of St Philip, has overcome major challenges to secure a place on the recent FIFA international refereeing list.
“I caught COVID this year and lost my father to COVID shortly after I returned from the Dominican Republic with the Under-14 tournament.”
“It feels good [to be selected], but I have had a few challenges on the road this year which currently cloud the moment for me.
âThis year for Barbados alone has been tough; we’ve had the volcanic ash, the pandemic, the bad weather. All of those things would have affected training and turf availability with the COVID restrictions.
âIt really affected a lot of my training so it was really tough.
âThen I caught COVID this year and lost my dad to COVID shortly after I returned from the Dominican Republic with the Under-14 tournament.
âThis year I failed my first fitness test due to isolation, but took a fitness test 10 days later and passed it to enter the tournament. less than 20 years “.
Doyle’s journey in football began as a student at St Mark’s Elementary School and continued well throughout his years at Christ Church Foundation School and The Lodge School.
He made a brief stint at Clarke’s Hill Football Club and Barbados Soccer Academy, but football had to be sacrificed as Doyle continued his education at the University of the West Indies (UWI).
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance, Doyle’s passion will bring him back to his beloved football, but in another capacity.
Doyle remembers watching a game in his community that was refereed by a neighbor, whom he approached, and that conversation ultimately changed his life.
âAfter UWI I was unemployed and saw Terry Butcher referee. He said you’re not doing anything right now; you can sign up for the course and see where it takes you.
âI took the course and from there I said I was going to try it.
âMy grandma objected to it from day one, but I told her I already had my degree, and that’s something I want to do,â Doyle said.
Doyle’s growth has been rapid since his inception in September 2015, where he started in the Youth League of the Barbados Football Association (BFA) and then progressed to make his senior debut later that year in Division One, and within months he was the assistant referee in his first Premier League game.
Humble, progressive, and ambitious are some of the obvious characteristics that immediately emerge in a conversation with Doyle.
He informed Loop sports about his inherently motivated professional development activities which included learning Spanish, networking via social media and even while on vacation in England, he made a point of meeting members of the Association referees in Coventry.
This summer, Doyle made his debut on the international football circuit as one of four officials from Barbados who were on duty at the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) U14 Challenge, held in the Dominican Republic.
Doyle said it was a great learning experience for him, especially the first game he played where he felt he underperformed. However, he was aware of his mistakes and after a conversation with his colleague Kevon Clarke and former accredited FIFA official Clifton Garnes, he approached his subsequent assignments with more confidence and skill.
The evaluators praised Doyle’s physical form, his roster, execution and his assistance to the head referee.
The successful delivery in his previous matches saw Doyle earn a spot on the officials squad for the boys’ final between Haiti and Puerto Rico.
Doyle’s CFU display saw him take it one step further and was selected for another assignment in the Dominican Republic: the Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Qualifying.
Much like his CFU U14 exam, the evaluators spoke emotionally about Doyle’s fitness and task execution, which pleased the young assistant referee, but also gave him more confidence.
With two more qualifying rounds for the FIFA World Cup in the Concacaf confederation and the kick-off of the Concacaf Nations League set to kick off in June 2022, Doyle is eagerly awaiting his first FIFA assignment and said he would use the time leading up to the opportunity to be ready, in an effort to make his country proud.
âI will work closely with Kevon because Kevon is my mentor and he is more advanced than me in FIFA refereeing.
“I’m going to work closely with him and watch how he’s progressing and make it a goal to achieve.”
Doyle said he is happy with how far football has come and encourages any youngster to pursue officiating or at least take a course to broaden their field of play.
âI invite them (young people) to come. It’s not as easy, it’s not as easy as people and fans might think. However, if they apply it will work for them as it has worked for me, Kevon, Tonia (Deane) and Shannon (Gibson).
âIt’s a long way, but you can really improve, especially for the women. We really need the women in the region, and we also need the referees in Barbados, men and women.
“We welcome everyone, especially young people who are making the transition from football and looking for another path in football. All are welcome.”