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Luka Chawell has become the first born and bred BVIslander to be a professional footballer after he signed a contract on Thursday 15th June 2023, to join Eastleigh FC in the English National League.

Chalwell a product of the FA’s development pathways started under the watchful eye of Coach John Reilly, flourished in the BDO Schools League, and blossomed in the FA Youth teams before earning his first full international cap in the Concacaf World Cup qualifier against Guatemala in 2021.

Since then, he has represented the Country in the Concacaf Nations League and been in England learning his trade at clubs such as Poole Town, where he scored a hat trick in the FA Youth Cup, before getting his chance with the Eastleigh Elite Development Program courtesy of a recommendation to Lee Bradbury, Manager of Eastleigh FC, from the BVI National Coach, Chris Kiwomya, who has also been working with Chalwell on improving his all round game.

Chalwell impressed both Kiwomya and Eastleigh with his work ethic and has also shown an exemplary attitude to gain his chance, as well as being rewarded for his undoubted talent. He also showed a willingness to listen to Coaches and Mentors alike and benefitted from being able to work with Kiwomya. “I was able to get Luka (Chalwell) the opportunity, but he had to show dedication to learn the game and improve himself.” Stated Kiwomya “he has really improved over 12-18 months, has an eye for goal, good stamina and is a good header of the ball. I was happy to step in and help him achieve his dream, which he’s grabbed with both hands, and I believe he has a good chance of making the breakthrough to the first team and playing at a higher level.”

Chalwell was excited to learn of the offer to sign the professional two-year contract on Thursday 15th June 2023. “This is such a proud moment for myself and my family, signing my first professional contract with Eastleigh FC. I want to thank my parents for their unwavering support and sacrifice throughout my journey so far. Words can’t describe how I feel to have reached this stage. I’ve always worked very hard but especially this past year, putting my all into further developing my physical and mental skills whilst working very hard to condition my body for the intense physicality of professional level football which has allowed me this opportunity with Eastleigh FC. I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead.”

According to an announcement on the Eastleigh FC website “Chalwell has been involved in training with the first team in the latter stages of the season and impressed, earning himself a pro deal.” With Chalwell’s new manager, Lee Bradbury, further stating “I’m really pleased to have the lad on board. He has excellent ability and I’m looking forward to seeing the progress through the early years of professional football.”

FA President, Andy Bickerton added “The BVIFA is very proud of Luka, he is a shining example of what can be achieved with dedication, hard work, and the essential and necessary family support.”

Those sentiments were echoed by BVIFA Technical Director, Dan Neville, “Congratulations to Luka, the first of what we hope is many more to follow!”