Dear Mr. Ely Fabro,
I like the fact that you said something about football in Orange Walk Town, but you failed to mention some key facts. When I was transferred from Belize City to Orange Walk Town to be stationed as a police officer in 1974, there was no football taking place at the senior level in the town. I formed a team by the name of Caribbean Eleven that was supported by Mr. Pedro Cuello. Most of our players were police officers, along with some Garifuna football players from Guatemala and Honduras who were cutting cane in Orange Walk. We were practicing on the field by the Town Hall every evening from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
One day I went out there, and I saw another group of players, led by a famous football legend, namely (Orvin) “Stud” Hendricks, practicing. He asked me if we would be willing to play against his team on a Sunday, and I told him yes, but we were working on raising funds for a set of uniforms, because we had no money. I went to Mr. John Loskot, who had a clothing store, and asked him to donate some cloth to our team, and he donated a roll of black and yellow cloth to the team. We became friends after he made that donation, because without him, we would not have had a team. Two of our players were tailors, and one was an artist. The tailors sewed our uniforms, and the artist painted the numbers behind our shirts.
We then arranged with Stud that we were ready to play against his team by the name of Santos. When that game was played on the field, it was packed with people from Orange Walk Town and Orange Walk District. That was the game that resurrected football in Orange Walk Town and District. Prior to this, football was dead in Orange Walk Town that year.
The late Joe Briceño, the Orange Walk North area representative, and his friend Ramon Cervantes, the school teacher, came to me and asked if we would be interested to form a football league, and I said yes. That meeting was held at the Town Hall through the efforts of his brother, the then mayor, Leopold “Polo” Briceño, who loved and was passionate about football. Enrique Carballo had just returned from his studies in Honduras, and I asked him to play with us, but he did not. Later on he ended up playing for Riverside, the team that was sponsored by Amado Vasquez, which I later joined. At the time that football was resurrecting in Orange Walk Town, the field by the Town Hall was being abandoned and permission was being sought from BSI to have the football competition on their grounds next to Trial Farm up the hill.
Teams from all over Orange Walk Town and District were enrolled in this tournament, and the team that won the first championship was “Spurs”, sponsored by Mr. Nicholson from Douglas. Matthew Williams left our team to play for that team. We changed our name before the tournament started from Caribbean Eleven to Astros, because we received sponsorship from Mr. Coyock from Trial Farm, a football lover. In 1975, the second championship was won by Santos, sponsored by Stud Hendricks himself. Stud Hendricks should be given a lot of credit for his contributions to football in Orange Walk Town, not only as an exceptional player but also as a football legend. I have a lot of respect for him, even though we only played for the Orange Walk Selection together.
I won three championships with Gregsie Jones, Matthew Williams and Enrique Carballo.
Orange Walk was developing talented football players all over the district. When the Inter-District Competition started in 1975, we formed a committee to select the Orange Walk Inter-District Selection players. Most of these players were from Orange Walk Town and came from the following teams: Spurs, Santos, Riverside, Astros, Belize Road, Trial Farm and San Jose Palmar.
Even though I must admit that there were some exceptional players from the other villages who were not selected to play, this was the first out-of-district team to convincingly defeat the All Belize Selection at MCC Grounds in Belize City. From there they continued to excel and ended up playing in the Inter-District Finals in 1975 and 1976, back to back. We lost to the Stann Creek Selection at MCC Grounds on both occasions.
I am writing this because for me history is very important for our children, grandchildren and generations to come. I want this article to be shared among the Orange Walk citizens who are still around so that they can give their versions of their stories.
Football is one of the loves of my life.
Wellington C. Ramos
Former All Orange Walk Selection player
Telephone: (718) 223-3193
Email: [email protected]
(AMANDALA Sports Ed. Note: Ely Fabro’s article “Orange Walk Football – 40+ years back” appeared in the Amandala for Tuesday, December 6, posted online on Wednesday, December 7, 2022.)