Arnett’s special team member ‘Ikel’
Gregory 'Ikel' Luellen was diagnosed with Down's syndrome at birth, and it was this special need which landed him a unique place in the Arnett Gardens players' hearts.
The 27-year-old said he has several favourite players in Arnett Gardens, but one day he hopes to join them in the field of play, as he loves the game.
"The 'ballers, run, be fit, and here suh (pointing to his chest) will be alright," Luellen said while doing the necessary actions to explain the things he likes about football.
His mother, Pauline Smikle, said she is happy he is at a place doing what he loves.
"I couldn't get him away from the club. Even when he was supposed to go to school, he didn't want to go to school. He wanted to go to the club. They were saying to me that while he was in school, it was better for him to go to school, and when he's on holiday, he is free to come up there any time," she said.
"He graduated in 2015, and about five years before that, he has been among them."
Luellen became a part of Arnett Gardens in 2016 and even walks out with them for the playing of the National Anthem.
Arnett Gardens' head coach, Paul Davis, said Luellen is not just a member of the club, but he is family.
"People would call him a mascot, but we don't call him a mascot. He is a family friend of the team. He gives us energy at practice and matches. When we don't see him come to training or matches, it's like a part of the family is missing, and he knows that. We play for people like him and the disabled, so to speak," Davis said.
"Most people in Jamaica don't recognise the disabled, so to speak, we put them down, and they are human beings."
Smikle said she is grateful for how her son is treated in Arnett Gardens, as this has helped him to develop socially.
"It helps him well because most of the things he doesn't know, he would think about what the 'ballers say or do what the 'ballers do, so that motivates him," Smikle said as Luellen smiled at her. "I feel so good about it because sitting down at home wouldn't be any good for him."
To her surprise, she said her son is an inspiration to others.
Team captain Fabian Reid said he and other team members are among the people Luellen motivates.
"He motivates us in training ... and builds the vibes. That is his role in the team," Reid said.
His mother said she is proud of his progress, but it has been difficult caring for him because he does not have a job.
"I face financial problems a lot with him ... sometimes I can't even find it," she said.
Reid agrees as he said although he and other team members try to help him, Luellen needs more assistance.
"I would like to see someone big step in and chump up some funds to help him because we are doing it, but it's not enough," he said.
Coach Davis said he is calling for a bigger movement to help the entire special needs community by treating them better.
"Show them love, lots of love, embrace them and listen to them," Davis said.