‘I always knew what I wanted to do and that is to play football,” said Nikhil Dolly. And that is exactly what he will be doing for the next four years at the University of Bridgeport, a Division II school, which is located in Connecticut in the United States.
Dolly left on Sunday to begin his collegiate football career after earning a full scholarship to pursue a Bachelors of Science degree in Computer Engineering.
Bridgeport rated among the top America's strong international universities with 25 per cent of its students coming from overseas, will have Dolly on their “Purple Knights” roster for the upcoming season.
A step which will take ‘dog-loving’ Dolly closer to his dream of representing T&T at the senior level some day.
“I am looking forward to play for the national senior team. You see a lot of guys leaving to go on scholarships but after that you don’t hear from them. I will love to get the opportunity to come back to play for T&T,” said Dolly sitting in the Guardian’s interview room in Port-of Spain.
He missed out twice on representing T&T on the junior level. Dolly was among the pool of players competing for a spot on the Under-17 national team for the 2001 Junior World Cup hosted in T&T but he was not selected.
However, he was chosen on the national youth team for the U-13 tournament to be held in Aruba that same year but just his luck, the team never made the trip.
But his spirit remained upbeat and he still awaits the day to do like one is favourite local footballer, Russell Latapy, to play football for T&T.
“Not that I fashion my style on his but I just love to watch him play,” said Dolly.
He also admires the playing style of Juventus midfielder Patrick Viera.
Dolly, who loves a “mean” pelau, kicked his first football at the age of five when he attended the University Primary School in his native St Augustine.
He sat common entrance in 1996 and passed for Trinity College located in Maraval but after two years he was transferred to Queen’s Royal College in Port-of-Spain.
“I didn’t want to leave Trinity but my parents made me. Reason being the distance and they thought that QRC would be better for me,” said a smiling Dolly.
Although he was against the move, his mother Viana and father David seem to know what they were doing. Their decision proved to be a wise one with Dolly’s success in the Caribbean Examination Council.
He emerged with a grade one in Mathematics, English Language and Geography, a two in Physics and three in Biology, Social Studies and English Literature.
He went on to complete the University of Cambridge Advanced level International examinations last year in Geography (D), Physics (E), Mathematics (E) and General Paper (B).
With such a high academic background it was no surprise that Dolly scored over 1000 both times taking the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The SAT measures ones intellectual ability through math and English.
In 2003, he scored 1130 (610 in Math, 520 in Verbal) but his parents thinking he could do better made him redo the test and he scored 1110 (570 in Math, 540 in Verbal) last year.
Dolly’s success also permeated onto the field during his time at QRC. Playing with the Royalians senior team for three years, he was a member of the 2003 team that won the North Zone InterCol title.
Preceding that Dolly, the third child in four siblings — older sisters Niselie and Naomi and younger brother Nyell — was a part of the 1999 QRC unit that won the U-14 national title. In that year he was selected on the All-star U-14 North Zone team.
At club level, he plays for Alcons which compete in the Eastern Football Association League. Alcons is coached by former national and player Alvin Corneal.
Dolly said: “Playing with Alcons has helped me develop as a player and has also helped me mature. It is through a recommendation by coach Alvin that I will be attending Bridgeport.”
The hard-working, dedicated and focussed young footballer is already looking forward to pre-season training at Bridgeport but as excited as he is, he will still miss his rotweilers Hera and puppies fifi and Zeus.