- Name: AFL Senior Men’s League
- Founded: 1997
- Number of Teams: 11
- Level on Pyramid: First
Social Media Channels
- Website: n/a
- Facebook: Anguilla Football Association – provides news and information about all football-related topics in Anguilla.
- Twitter: No official Twitter feed but good information can be obtained from @AnguillianFooty.
- Instagram: n/a
- YouTube: No official channel but all league games in Anguilla can be seen on ai-live.
Brief History and League Structure
The Anguilla Football League (AFL) Senior Men’s League is the top and currently only tier of football for men (there is an under 17’s league for boys as well as leagues for women and under 17’s girls) in Anguilla. Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory situated in the Caribbean. It is one of the most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles region, lying east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and directly north of the divided island of Saint Martin.
The league was founded in 1997 with the first title being won by Spartans International, a club based in the capital of Anguilla, The Valley. Since those early days, the league has continued to grow and develop, with this current 2022 season seeing eleven clubs entering the AFL, the highest number of clubs in the league’s history. All games in Anguilla are played at the Raymond E. Guishard Technical Centre, the national stadium of Anguilla which is based in the Pope Hill area of The Valley.
With the league being the only level of football for men in Anguilla, it probably comes as no surprise when you hear that there is no promotion or relegation in Anguillan football. The winners of the league are eligible to enter CONCACAF club competitions, but due to the financial constraints involved in travelling to and from games around the Caribbean, this has proven to be a very difficult thing for clubs in Anguilla to undertake.
Questions on the Anguilla Football League Senior Men’s League
To get more information on Anguilla’s top-tier league, we asked questions to the excellent Pascal Schmidt. Pascal, who is from Germany, is a real football enthusiast and is also a fountain of knowledge on football in Anguilla as well as several other countries in the Caribbean. He is also the secretary of Uprising FC in Anguilla, a club that is certainly on the up, and moving in the right direction. You can find the links to Pascal’s social media platforms below:
- Twitter: @PascalSch89
Q. Firstly, what is the current state or performance of the league?
You cannot compare the AFL with the big leagues in the region, but the league has improved a lot during the last two to three years. UK-born national players like Jordan Deans, and some players from Trinidad and Tobago, have improved the league’s standard and have had a big and positive impact on the quality and the development of the league.
Q. Historically, which teams have been the most successful in the league, and which ones are the strongest currently?
The Roaring Lions have won the AFL several times over the years and they are currently still one of the best teams in Anguilla. But some other good teams currently are Docs United, Salsa Ballers, and Attackers FC.
Q. Which teams in the league are the most popular in the country?
The Roaring Lions are the most famous team in Anguilla. They have won the most titles [9 titles won] and they are the team in Anguilla where most of the national team players are selected from. They also have a good academy and many current players still playing in the AFL have previously played for them.
Q. What would you say is the league’s biggest game or rivalry of the season?
In my opinion, this would have to be Roaring Lions versus Docs United.
Q. Which game(s) would you consider to be the best of all time played in the league?
I have watched many games over the years in Anguilla and have enjoyed lots of encounters but it is very difficult for me to just highlight one game.
Q. Switching to the playing side of things, who have been the best players to have played in the league in its history?
I would say that the best player in the history of the AFL is one of the league’s current players. His name is Ricardo John [27-year-old forward], he is the son of the ex-English Premier League player Stern John, and like his father, he has also played for the Trinidad and Tobago national team [winning two caps for the Soca Warriors between 2017 and 2018].
However, midfielder Jermaine Ricketts of Docs United is also an outstanding player and has previously played professional football in Jamaica.
Q. Likewise, who are the league’s most successful manager(s)?
Definitely Nigel Connor! Nigel has won many titles as the Roaring Lions manager over the years and he is also the current Anguilla national team manager.
Q. In your opinion, who would you regard as the best player(s) currently playing in the league?
As mentioned in a previous question – Ricardo John from Salsa Ballers and Jermain Ricketts from Docs United.
Q. Which players have the potential to become excellent or important players in the league in the near future?
There are some very talented players in the league at the moment. I think players like Jauron Gayle (18-year-old forward at Salsa Ballers with four caps and one goal for the senior national team), Javis Jones (16-year-old midfielder at Uprising FC who has been capped at the U20 level), and Varian Carty (19-year-old forward at Kicks United who has earned three caps for the senior national team) will all have a bright future in the game.
Q. Finally, what are your hopes for the league in the future?
My hopes are that the league will continue to develop in the future and it would also be great to see more players of the standard of Ricardo John and Jermaine Ricketts playing in Anguilla.
A massive thank you very much to the superb Pascal Schmidt for answering our questions on the AFL Senior Men’s League and Anguillan football in general. Remember you can find his excellent social media accounts in the links mentioned previously.
If you have any comments, suggestions, reactions, or even your own answers to the above questions, please write them in the comments box below. Likewise, you can either email us at email@example.com, send a message to the editor @The94thMin, or to the author @Gareth19801 on Twitter.