“I keep trying to motivate people!” One-on-one with Arima’s Jemaul Ashing

EPL Infrafred Sauna

“[…] To be honest, what really motivates me is that my uncle, Aalon Ashing, passed away on my birthday and he really loved football.

“I started playing football at a young age and I remember my dad, uncles and everyone playing with me and helping to teach me the game. You could say I am from a football family…”

Arima North Secondary captain and winger Jemaul Ashing.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Arima Araucans Academy

After helping newly-promoted Arima North Secondary to sixth place in the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) Premier Division competition, team captain Jemaul Ashing strives to push the “Dial Dynamos” as far as he can in the Intercol competition—all while juggling football with studies and his hobby, photography.

A pacy, skillful winger, Ashing is fired up, at present, and hopes to continue to be a pillar for his side, a support system to his teammates and to make his family and late uncle proud of his achievements; on and off the field.

He spoke one-on-one with Wired868 about his ambitions:

What is your date of birth?

21 December 2003.

Where are you from?

Originally, I’m from Malabar and I live in Santa Cruz as well.

How would you describe yourself as a player?

As a player, I would say I’m a very driven and brave individual; hard working.

Arima North Secondary winger Jemaul Ashing (left) tries to withstand a challenge from a QRC defender during SSFL Premier Division action at QRC Grounds on 3 November 2023.
Photo: Nicholas Bhajan/ Arima Araucans Academy

What motivates you to succeed?

To be honest, what really motivates me is that my uncle, Aalon Ashing, passed away on my birthday and he really loved football. I started playing football at a young age and I remember my dad, uncles and everyone playing with me and helping to teach me the game. You could say I am from a football family.

I understand Aalon played for Defence Force at one time, so I think he played at the highest level in my family. His memory and the support of my entire family motivates me to get up and keep on pushing every morning.

Who is your football inspiration?

Well, the team that inspired me—and I would say team because, as a unit, they work pretty well—would be Real Madrid. But the player that inspired me would be Cristiano Ronaldo.

Portugal star and Real Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo.

What makes you stand out as a footballer?

It’s that I would go on the field, implement what the coach wants and not give any backchat. Although there are players with the skill level I have and with the speed I have, I think I am most able to adapt [to tactical instructions].

How do you handle the responsibilities of team captain?

First things first would be communication—I try to speak to everyone in a certain manner, and treat everyone with respect. Because even though I am the captain, I can’t talk to anybody how I want. I’ve got to give due respect and just treat everyone like they’re my brother.

I just keep on trying to motivate people because I know some are in doubt about their capabilities. The most I could do is motivate, talk to them and be a shoulder to lean on anytime they need a shoulder.

Arima North Secondary captain Jemaul Ashing (second from left) and attacker Stephano Cristopher (centre) have a break while physio Robelto Mathura treats full back Criston Gomez during SSFL Premier Division action against Fatima College at Mucurapo Road on 14 October 2023.
Looking on is referee Nathalya Williams.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Arima Araucans Academy

What has been the highlight of your season so far?

I can’t say that I have a best moment other than every time I step on to the pitch to play with my teammates. I love how we are playing together as a team, especially considering the fact that we haven’t too long begun playing with each other.

In fact, I’d say my best moment this season was actually a bonding trip we made in Mayaro. I enjoyed the time we spent together there as a team and the talks and the cooking together and so on. I helped with the cooking along with “Billy” (Ability Hazel), [Theron] O’Brien, [Jayden] Critchlow, [Jeremiah] Vance, and [Brentton Armani] Ceres.

Arima North Secondary captain Jemaul Ashing (left) runs at a St Mary’s College defender during SSFL Premier Division action at Serpentine Road on 20 September 2023.
Photo: Daniel Prentice/ Wired868

How would you rate your performances so far for the season?

So far for the season, I wouldn’t rate my performances at a very high level but a medium/average. I know I can do better and that’s what I’m still hoping for.

What do you hope to accomplish in football?

I would like to achieve a scholarship to play abroad, gain more exposure and make my name known, and hopefully sign a contract for a professional team.

Anything you’d like the world to know about you?

I would like to shout out my photography page on Instagram (_jemaul_photography_). It’s my support system that continues to drive me and helps me manage all aspects of my life. It relaxes my mind and calms me down.

Arima North Secondary winger Jemaul Ashing (right) tries to hold off Presentation College (San Fernando) full back Duhrell Young during SSFL Premier Division action on 13 September 2023.
Photo: Brian Miller/ Arima Araucans Academy

What is your target goal for the season?

I would say my target right now is to bring everyone together as a team, even though disagreements may occur, and win Intercol. To let everyone know who is Arima North Secondary!

Editor’s note: This interview was conducted by Wired868 intern, Gervais Alleyne.

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