Now a sleepy, small fishing town just six miles away from Kingston (Jamaica’s capital city), Port Royal used to have a fearsome reputation. In the 17th century, it was frequently labelled as the “the wickedest city on earth”, with booze, pirates, looting and destruction commonplace. In November 2005, striker Dujuan Richards was born in Port Royal, one of the oldest and most historic parts of Jamaica.
At nine years old, Richards joined Jamaican Premier League side Harbour View gaining the nickname “Whisper” due to his shy nature. However, a chance meeting with Craig Butler would change his life. Butler is the founder of the Pheonix Football Academy (Kingston) which has produced 37 professional footballers including his son Leon Bailey, who plays in the Premier League with Aston Villa.
Butler discovered this future superstar, whilst travelling to a party near Port Royal. On the way, Richards and his cousin met Craig Butler on the beach. Richards pleaded to join the Pheonix Academy and later that evening he met the rest of the players from their youth set-up. Butler remembers his first impressions of Richards:
When he first came, he was really just a big, tall skinny kid with a wry smile and a very warm personality. He never spoke. He got faster and faster, as we did a lot of sprint training. It’s not been an easy road but it’s been a lot of fun at the same time.”
With the Phoenix Academy, Richards went on several overseas tours from 2020 to 2023, playing against youth teams such as Real Sociedad, Aston Villa (Richards scored four goals) and Manchester City (scored twice).
In 2022, Richards played in the Manning Cup – an under 19 competition which is regarded as Jamaica’s most prestigious youth competition. He represented Kingston College, scoring 31 goals and providing 19 assists despite having only just turned 17-years-old.
This domestic success and his experience of facing European sides, attracted the attention of Newcastle United who offered him a trial in February 2023. However, just one month later Chelsea pounced and secured his signature, with the player set to join the club in November 2023 (on his 18th birthday).
It appears Dujuan “Whisper” Richards is ready to make some noise.