Next up for Sarnia FC alum — island life in the Caribbean

Sarnia’s Kwin Kensley is playing soccer this winter on the island of Antigua, which is renowned for its beaches. Submitted Photo

Troy Shantz

A globetrotting soccer player from Bright’s Grove is currently back-flipping his way through a season in the Caribbean.

Kwin Kensley’s newest club is Old Road FC on the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda.

“The league here is very physical — big, fast, and strong (and) similar to the USA and Canada,” the 26-year-old St. Christopher grad said via email.

“None of the other teams seem to be too interested in the technical or tactical side of the game as of yet, but it is early.”

Kensley arrived in the West Indies through a friend of a friend who knows a friend, he said. He’s already suited up for various soccer teams in the U.S., Australia, and most recently Guatemala.

When the Journal last spoke with Kensley two years ago he had just made a splash with the Northern Rangers in Launceston, Tasmania. He scored in the 65th minute against a league rival to secure the win, and celebrated with a series of acrobatic backflips on the field – which has since become a personal trademark.

The flips will likely draw a similar response in Antigua and Barbuda, he said.

“The fans love it and it seems to get everyone excited.”

Kensley is the son of Gary and Linda Kensley and has three brothers. He was an all-star with Sarnia FC and played college soccer with Harford Community College in Maryland, where as a junior he earned team MVP honours.

Old Road FC had a 1-2 record at press time. Kensley was benched the first matches by a toe infection but had an assist in the team’s first win of the season, he said.

The winger and midfielder plays on a squad comprised of South American and Caribbean players, he said. Half the team speaks English, the other half speaks Spanish, and they have different playing styles.

“We seem to have figured it out,” he said, noting the team is touted as a league contender.

The games currently draw about 3,000 fans but later in the season up to 10,000 are expected to attend, he said.

The country is comprised of two main islands and a number of smaller islands, has a population of 100,000, and is full of “beautiful beaches and friendly people,” he said.

One adjustment has been understanding that nobody is in a hurry, he said.

“When you are told to be ready at five, expect to be picked up about a half an hour late.”