'We've created football's Usain Bolt' - Dujuan 'Whisper' Richards, by the coach who made him
Chelsea have signed another teenage sensation. Scouted Football talk to his oldest mentor.
Five years ago, Craig Butler went to a party near Port Royal. He hadn’t planned to discover a superstar that night, but fate - and a father’s insistence - proved hard to deny.
Butler, founder of The Phoenix Academy in Jamaica, recalls the night well. “I remember this local fisherman kept pleading with me to take this young kid into my academy,” he told SCOUTED when we spoke earlier this month.
“He kept pleading and pleading, telling me he was special, so I agreed that if he was still there when I came back from the party, I would take him to the academy.”
The boy and the fisherman waited.
“When I returned, I saw this skinny, tall, gangly boy with his backpack waiting by my car, ready to go. We took him to the player housing, and he stayed with the academy ever since.”
That ‘gangly boy’ was Dujuan Richards. Five years later, Richards has just become Chelsea’s third signing of summer, mere months after being Jamaica’s youngest player at the 2023 Gold Cup. He’s not yet eighteen.
Such a meteoric rise might suggest a straight line between that night at The Phoenix Academy and stardom - but as with all success stories, Richards’ was hardly overnight. Butler remembers a boy who didn’t initially stand out.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to SCOUTED Notebook to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.