The Caymanian Compass recently spoke with young Caymanian athlete Shakeina Bush about life as a student athlete abroad.
Shakeina is among the first members of the Cayman Scholastic Football Academy. She is also a member of the Cayman Islands Football Association’s women’s league.
17 year-old Shakeina is the daughter of Bernie and Blossom Bush of West Bay.
Matthew Yates:What university are you attending?
Shakeina Bush: FIU, Florida International University
What are you studying there?
Civil Engineering, I want to be a civil engineer when I’m done with school.
How long have you been away at university?
Just a year, I’m in my 1st year of college. I got 3 years left there. I started going to FIU in August 2005.
What is a typical day at college like for you?
I wake-up at 5:30 in the morning. Then, I go to the gym for an hour at 6. Then I have to get ready for class at 8. When class is over, I go for training from 11 until 1. Then I have classes again with my last class being at around 5. Then I get in 2 hours of studying. My bed-time would be sometime before 10pm.
How do you get through such a hectic schedule?
I just remind myself that I’m blessed everyday. It takes dedication to do what I do. You have to be very focused. I just take things day by day. In the end, you can only give your best.
What are your grades like?
I’m not going to lie. They are very good. Last semester I had a 3.7 GPA and I made the Dean’s List. But it was hard work and I had to do a lot of studying.
How unique is your situation being a student athlete abroad while being a member of football organizations here?
Everybody is going to face a struggle. It is all about being focused, dedicated and committed. It comes down to how much you want it really.
When did you first start playing football?
I would say at the age of 8 or 9 yrs old.
Who first gave you the idea to play football?
I would have to say my father. As a former football player himself, he was always playing football and I grew up around people who played the game as well. I was influenced from a very young age towards sports.
Why play football instead of a less physical sport?
I have always said to myself I can do whatever I put my mind to. Once I started playing the game, I found I liked it. I just continued on from there. I got to the point where I could not be kept off the field. Besides, I was warrior out on the field.
What position do you play currently? What positions have you played?
I play centre-midfield. I have played just about every position on the field from goalkeeper to forward.
How much is being a professional football player part of your dreams?
Well, to obtain a degree is my ultimate goal. But, if I can go pro, then why not?
How do you feel about the current state of football in Cayman?
I feel Cayman football is in a developing process. However, I am glad to see people take the initiative and help out. I am really happy to see people take the lead in helping our young Cayman athletes make the next step.
How much do you think the academy will affect the future of Cayman football?
I believe that it will benefit Cayman’s youth, especially if they use it as a vehicle to achieve greater things. I am glad to see the academy take off.
What would you like to say to anyone out there who would want to follow in your footsteps?
People fail to realize the educational part of playing football. You got to keep your grades good. You can’t have just skills, but academic credibility as well.
You can’t let things throw you off. If you get hurt with no education, what have you got to fall back on? Use your academic ability as a vehicle to earn a degree.