Claude Davis, the former stalwart in the heart of Jamaica’s defence for a decade, has scooped the 2020 Coach of the Year accolade in the United States.
The Kingston-born 41-year-old was voted Coach of the Year for his contribution to sport at William Boone High School by the Orlando Sentinel Varsity during their virtual 22nd annual awards ceremony on 17 June.
Davis, who made 68 appearances and scored twice for the Reggae Boyz during a career that spanned 2002-12, has made an impact despite having only coached at the all boys school in Florida for two years.
The former Portmore United star led the school to their inaugural State final as well as helping them claim the Orlando District & Regional title for the first time in 20 years.
Davis, who beat two American coaches to the 2020 Coach of the Year award, kicked off his career in 2000 with Red Stripe Premier outfit Portmore United before finding success in England where he hung up his boots in 2014.
One year after Ricardo Fuller’s arrival from Jamaica’s leading club Tivoli Gardens, English Championship highflyers Preston North End (PNE) dipped into the Jamaican market again. Davis was brought in on loan by ex-Scotland coach Craig Brown in 2003.
Although Davis initially found it difficult to break into the starting line-up, once he was handed his chance to impress he was snapped up so signed a contract in 2004. His dominant displays, lightening speed and aerial prowess earned him the prestigious 2005-06 PNE’s Player of the Year but there were a clutch of clubs vying up the 6’3″ defender.
Despite playing a major role in helping PNE reach two unsuccessful English Championship play-off finals, Davis moved to the English Premier League newcomers Sheffield United for £3.5million in the summer of 2006. Although they were relegated he returned to the top tier with a move to Derby County. Davis, who captained the Reggae Boyz several times, saw his career take a nosedive after two successful seasons at Derby County.
He took a gamble by joining League Two side Crawley Town in 2011, where he led them to a 13-game unbeaten streak and played a major part in their promotional campaign. Davis made history by becoming the first international player to ever play for the club, and the same season he skippered Jamaica in their 3-2 success over hosts New Zealand in February 2013. He ended his career at Rothertham United in 2014 and has since been coaching in the United States.
Davis, who completed his Coaching A License last year and has aspirations to return to Jamaica in a coaching role, helped the William Boone High School score 16 victories out of their 22 matches to end their long drought without winning a trophy.
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