Santos FC under-16 midfielder Yaseen Petersen, 16, a Grade 11 pupil at Beacon Hill High School, has been selected as part of the Western Province schools side to take part in a nationals schools’ tournament in KwaZulu-Natal, later this year.
The youngster has been with The People’s Team for two years, following four years and five years respectively with local sides Ashley Rovers and Morgenster FC.
Not big on words, Yaseen prefers to let his feet do the talking and was in fine form in an under-18 fixture against Southampton, at the William Herbert sports field, in Wynberg, a week ago, finding the back of the net with a well-taken corner kick in his side’s 8-1 win.
While he may not have much to say about his performance, those who know him, certainly do.
“He’s a brilliant young talent,” said Santos under-16 head coach Grant Joshua, who’s also in charge of the WP schools’ under-18 side and is a selector of under-16s.
“He’s humble and has a bright future. He is very dedicated and very determined to improve day by day. He has great field vision, distribution skills and the ability to create opportunities and always puts the team first,” he said.
Regarding Yaseen’s well-executed corner kick against Southampton, he said, “the goal was purely scored on speed of thought and speed of action. He saw the goalkeeper and the defenders were disorganised and made a quick decision. It’s all about game intelligence and having confidence in your own ability.”
Beacon Hill soccer coach and sports co-ordinator Adrian Bothma, agrees, saying it’s all about confidence and ability, something the youngster has in abundance.
“Yaseen is world class. He is a leader without talking too much,” Bothma said. “He lets his feet do the work. He models his game after Tiago Alcantara who plays in a similar midfield position. “He’s young so he punches above his weight and he keeps 18 year olds out of the first team.
“I’ve known him since he was in Grade 9. He was in my class when I started my teaching career. He’s a year younger than everyone in his grade so he was always someone I watched to see if his age made a difference. He is very quiet in class but literally comes alive if there’s soccer talk.”
True to what his coaches are saying about him, Yaseen is proof that actions really do speak louder than words.
“For me it’s all about the love of the game and being part of a team,” he said.