Black Immigrant Daily News
Barbados’ most recent celebrated female athlete is hoping her latest achievement can inspire the next generation of female excellence.
Cheyanna Burnett-Griffith kicked off 2023 on the right foot when she signed to English outfit Hartlepool United Women FC on January 9.
The move to the Durham-based club is the latest step in Burnett-Griffith’s journey towards becoming a professional footballer.
“I think it would help other females to know that they can be exactly where I am or better”
Since her embryonic years in sport, while a student at the Alexandra School, Burnett-Griffith displayed tremendous athletic abilities while participating in badminton, track & field, and football, and doing so to the standard to earn international appearances in badminton and football.
By Renaldo Gilkes
It was a tug-o-war between badminton and football for most of her teenage life, as she represented the country in both sports, sometimes in the same year, however her unwavering love for football proved to be too much to continue flirting with any other sport.
“I decided to go back to football after a long year off to play badminton (2019-20), because football has been my first love.
I played many other sports, but I felt that while playing football, I can express myself in ways I can’t in other sports”, said Burnett-Griffith.
Two years after playing her last international badminton game in Jamaica in 2019, Burnett-Griffith earned a soccer scholarship to Feather River College in Quincy, California, where she has been a model student-athlete with a 4.0 GPA and a regular starter on the women’s soccer roster.
Burnett-Griffith stated that college has brought her a mixed bag of experiences thus far, however she is appreciative for the opportunity and looks forward to an interesting final semester at Feather River College.
“Feather River College has definitely been a roller coaster, but an enjoyable one.
Many ups and downs, but life is all about ups and downs.
Studies are going great. I currently have a 4.0 GPA with one semester left to be completed.
Last season I set an unrealistic goal of 20 goals, however I used it to push myself, to make sure that I doubled what I did the season before I did.
The first season I ended with two goals and one assist, while last season, I ended with five goals and two assists.”
With her junior college experience almost over, Burnett-Griffith took a proactive step, tied in with a taking a chance on love, and have embarked on a journey which takes her further away from her St Lucy residence.
Burnett-Griffith decided to make the move to Europe with her fianc? Christian Norman and simultaneously increase her chances of achieving her professional goal.
“I haven’t fully moved to the UK as yet, but it’s in the plans. My fianc? lives in north England, so the decision was quite easy.
I reached out to many clubs all over, but specifically in the UK. Hartlepool Director Andy Stuart got in contact with me, and we met up and I decided that Hartlepool would be a good step to take in my football career.”
The national women’s team forward have already featured for her new club in the 2023 season of the Northeast Regional Women’s Football League and she has set some goals for herself, since her arrival in Durham.
“Honestly, I’d just like to keep growing as a player, learning, and just getting better.
Everyday I want to feel like I’ve improved in some way, mentally or physically.
I also want to help us win as many games as possible, so that not only me, but the entire team can move up a tier and keep going”, said Burnett-Griffith.
The senior national women’s team next international assignment is likely to be inaugural Concacaf Women’s Nations League later this year and Burnett-Griffith is eager to learn as much as she can in her new environment, so that she may add value to the Lady Tridents.
“Being at Hartlepool I can learn more, work hard, definitely a lot of grafting to be done, and it can only make me better, so that I can possibly move up a couple tiers, hopefully tier one or two, which are the professional leagues.”
At just 23-years-old Burnett-Griffith is an inspiration to many young females, especially athletes.
Her dedication, ambition and passion are some of the key elements to her success thus far and she believes her latest opportunity can have extensive benefits.
“I think it would help other females to know that they can be exactly where I am or better. They just need to put in the work, on and off the field.
Moving here would allow other clubs to look at other females from Barbados as well.”