Growing up in Devonshire, Bermuda, Nia Christopher spread her sports horizons by participating in basketball, gymnastics, sailing and track and field. But inevitably, he could not contain his emotions about soccer, which began at the age of 4 when he kicked a ball around the yard of his family home.
“I just loved the game,” he recalls. “I always come back to it.”
That love has helped 20-year-old Christopher. In her second season as a leading player for the Towson women’s program last fall, she scored 13 points, including five winners in games that will earn NCAA football coaches for the First Division of the Eastern Empire and the All-Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) first. respect to the group.
And now Christopher is a member of the Bermuda National Team. In his second match, he scored three points in a 6-0 romp on the Cayman Islands in a CONCACAF Championship qualifier on 22 February.
Christopher, who will try to help Bermuda win the Dominican Republic on Friday in Santa Domingo and Grenada on Tuesday at the National Sports Center in Devonshire, Bermuda, was not interested in his explosion in the Cayman Islands.
“It was great, my first international hat,” said Christopher. “So I was very happy.”
Tigers coach Katherine Vettori said that’s similar to Christopher – modesty in error.
“I’m not shocked at all,” said Vettori. “I think he just scratched the surface. His power is limitless. He is different. There is no other player I have coached or worked with like Nia. ”
Christopher’s success in soccer may not be so dramatic when you consider the genetic predisposition. His father, D. Lloyd Christopher, was a Northeastern 10th-10 Conference for selecting first team in 1986 and 1987 at American International College and is still fifth in the program history for career goals (29 from 1985-87) and points (71) and tied. in fourth place for assistants (13). He also played for the Bermuda National Men’s Team in the mid-1990s.
Christopher, general secretary of the Bermuda Football Association and president of the Bermuda Referees Association, recalled an incident that involved his daughter’s dedication to the sport. Nia was 4 years old when, in one of her father’s games, she kicked a 6-year-old boy off a sidewalk where children were playing and took the ball from him.
“Obviously the boy complained, and turned around and said to him in a firm voice, ‘That’s what you do when you play football.’ [She] then he turned around and continued to slip with the ball, ”wrote D. Lloyd by email. “I have said since then, she is ready.”
Wanting to further their daughter’s education and career, D. Lloyd and his wife, Trevanda, agreed to send Nia to Georgia when she was 15 years old. After a year of dissatisfaction there, they contacted a friend from the Maryland family, who suggested that they apply to John’s organization. Carroll School at Bel Air.
In 2018 and 2019, Nia Christopher was named to the All-Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland teams. Employed by Florida Southern and Towson, Christopher said he chose the latter because he loved the country.
After the success of John Carroll in 2020, Christopher’s new campaign with the Tigers was delayed by the coronavirus from autumn to spring. He has started all eight games before but managed to score one point with one assistant.
Despite getting scores from the CAA All-Rookie Team and the second team, Christopher has expressed disappointment in his game.
“I just knew I wanted to improve,” he said. “Then that summer, I realized that I needed to work harder. I have felt relieved. I felt that in the fall, I was happier than I had ever been in the spring. ”
Christopher’s 13 goals last fall fell to third place in a single season in Towson’s history. Vettori said opponents began double-linking Christopher to prevent him from doing it for himself and his team. The coach said Christopher did physical “special” things and was “a clean-cut person.”
Christopher, who played for his country’s youth team and the 20-year-old National Team, said he was invited in September to join the Bermuda National Team. In his first match with the team, Jamaica sailed for a guaranteed 4-0 victory in Kingston, Jamaica, on 17 February.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game,” said Christopher. “Jamaica is one of the leading clubs in the Caribbean right now. So we had to go out and do our best because sometimes that’s all you can do. We had to trust the coaches and all the arrangements they made for us. ”
Christopher said he was trying to take what he had learned about football in the United States and imprint that to his teammates on the Bermuda National Team.
“Sometimes at home, we take a break,” he said. “And after I got out of here, it was a little bit of waking up. There is more urgency. … We’ve gotten better. As more and more people leave home to start migrating, they also taste it. ”
With three points down to a 1-1 record, Bermuda are currently third in Group C, behind Dominican Republic (six points) and Jamaica (six points). The team must defeat the Dominican Republic and then hope that the Dominican Republic can defeat Jamaica to secure a place in the top flight and advance to the CONCACAF final in Monterrey, Mexico, on July 4-18.
Christopher remains at the top of Bermuda’s ability.
“I think we can be really good,” he said. “We need to hold on to it and trust our coaches and have faith in them and in others.”
Christopher said he thinks his experience with the Bermuda National Team will help improve his game when he returns to Towson, which is music to Vettori’s ears.
“You could be a great player in the CAA,” Vettori said. “He was honored as the National Player of the Week [by College Soccer News on Sept. 7], and more is yet to come. He’s gotten maybe a little bit physically, and he keeps getting stronger and stronger. So the future is bright. ”