A TEENAGER from Plymouth was handed a surprise chance to play international football.
Marine Academy defender Taylor Scarff was called up to play for the British Virgin Islands (BVI) in their Caribbean Football Union/CONCACAF Under-17 Championships, which acted as a World Cup qualifying tournament.
The 15-year-old’s opportunity came through the Sturridge Football Academy, which is he to join this summer and where he will be monitored by Liverpool.
Anyone with a UK passport is eligible to play for BVI as it is a British overseas territory.
The youngster’s father, Steve, said: “He went away on holiday to Portugal and when he came back everything was in place for him to go up to Woking to meet the parents he is going to stay with at the Sturridge Academy, but we then got an email from the British Virgin Islands international side asking him to play for them.
“We obviously followed it up and that was it.
“It all came through the scouts and trainers at the Sturridge Academy. They said they had put Taylor through but I kind of dismissed it at the time and didn’t think much more of it, but then we get this email and then the tickets.”
The British Virgin Islands opened their campaign with a 1-0 with over Bahamas but then lost to hosts Suriname and Anguilla.
Playing international football at under-17 level for BVI will not commit Scarff to playing for them at senior level, but has given him a unique experience.
The 6ft 4in centre-half, who will not turn 16 until next month, was on the books at Yeovil Town but found the travelling to and from Somerset while studying at Stoke Damerel Community College too much and so left and returned to playing club football for Marine Academy.
But his performances did attract a number of clubs, including Liverpool, Aston Villa, Bristol City and Swindon Town.
However, he is set to spend the next three years at the Sturridge Academy, where he will combine his football with a BTEC and where Liverpool have said they will keep an eye on him.