October 20th, 1984 – Peter Byers was born to Peter Byers Snr and Rosemarie Shaw of Bolans Village. He began his education at the Bolans Primary School before moving on to the St. Mary’s School of Excellence in 2000. Following this, he completed a stint for one year at the Antigua and Barbuda Institute of Continuing Education (ABICE) doing an Electrical course.
At the age of 9 Byers officially began playing football and had the opportunity to play with the under 13 national team in St. Maarten. Being the fourth of his mother’s seven children, Byers notes that his interest in football was something he picked up from his older brothers who played as well and one could surmise that it was certainly a staple in the family unit as the other siblings to follow, including his sister, took an interest in the sport. He points out that at one point, all of his mother’s children played for the national team of Antigua and Barbuda.
Byers describes football as his ‘passion’ and consistently took hold of opportunities to develop himself in the area and represent the teams he played with to the best of his abilities. In his earlier years of playing the sport, he had the opportunity of representing all of the academic institutions that he was a part of, claiming a number of championships and records in the process which included scoring 54 goals for St. Mary’s School of Excellence in one (1) year.
Upon leaving school, he joined the SAP Football Club in 2003 and played with the team up until 2007 when he took hold of the opportunity of a professional contract in Trinidad and Tobago in their Professional League (TT Pro League) for two (2) years. The team he represented, San Juan Jabloteh, was successful in winning the championship in both years and he was able to amass the most goals and be voted most valuable player.
In 2009, Byers took his professional pursuits to Canada on contract with the Montreal Impact in the United Soccer League (USL) and was able to add another championship to his growing accomplishments.
Upon returning to Antigua in 2011, he played with Parham Football Club in the Antigua Barbuda Football Assocation’s (ABFA) Premier League competition for one year. He was instrumental in that Club being able to clinch the top spot in the league that season.
He then returned to his home team, SAP FC for two (2) years before another professional contract with the Los Angeles Blues (USL) for one (1) year. He also played professional for Antigua Barracudas (USL), and Central FC (TT Pro League).
Byers highlights the profound impact football has had on his life noting that the opportunity to play professionally has allowed him to put much energy into something that he loves. He remarked on the positive feeling it gives knowing that he is representing his country and giving both children and adults something to be proud of and aspire to as well. Though he has had the opportunity to play with teams regionally and internationally, Byers’ posits that his top preference is representing his homeland. This was demonstrated in his willingness to prematurely end what were shaping up to be successful trials in Vietnam and Spain to return to buttress Antigua and Barbuda’s national team who were quite close to qualifying for the world cup in 2012. He recounts that it was a final game against the United States that would have helped in making that determination. Though they lost 3-1, he states that this was his most memorable game because he was able to score the lone goal for Antigua and Barbuda in the second half of the game.
Byers played his joined the national team in 2004 and has his first strike in 2006, scoring three (3) goals in the 8th, 16th and 71st minute of a five (5) – two (2) defeat against Anguilla.
Overall, Byers has scored 44 goals out of 96 games with the national team and has scored even more than he can remember with his home team, SAP. He served as captain of his home team for 3 seasons and contributed to 3 championships as well as being voted top the ABFA’s Most Valuable Male Player 3 times.
President of SAP Football Club, Akielah Hillhouse, shares her experiences working with Byers, “Peter’s energy alone can brighten up locker rooms and motivate players; that’s his super power…He has brought a new energy to the team. He’s a leader, he’s finally leading from front like he ought to have been doing and not just leading because he was told he had to.” She noted his performance in the 2022 over 40 League where though he was not in the best form and people were counting him out, he proved them wrong. “That’s the worst thing you could ever do, count out Peter Byers”, she shares.
Off the field, Byers continues to give back to his community. He helped his alma mater, St. Mary’s School of Excellence. revive their once defunct football team through the donation of football jerseys and volunteering to coach the team for one year. He admits that the sport is not what it used to be but suggests that it should be a team effort between the powers that be and residents in various communities to work together to address the issues.
Byers and his team, SAP Football Club are preparing for their involvement in the 2022 ABFA Premier League. They have had a promising start, they are finalists in the lucrative EC$50,000.00 ABFA knockout finals.
Peter ‘Big Pete’ ‘Baller’ Byers continues to blaze his own path on the Antigua and Barbuda football arena and will be forever remembered as one of the nation’s most outstanding strikers. His primary position is Center Forward.