St George’s College to launch football academy in April

January 14th, 2012

Neville 'Bertis' Bell

In an effort to improve the standard of football across the island, St George’s College (StGC), winners of last season’s Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association schoolboy ‘Triple Crown’, is set to launch a football academy in April.

Neville ‘Bertis’ Bell, coach of StGC, told The Gleaner that the school’s Sports Council will be in charge of the day-to-day operations of the academy, which will start out as a non-residential one.

He also said that the academy will not only cater to players from his school, but also to anyone out there who believes that they have the required skills to become a professional footballer.

“I want to touch the lives of youngsters, but not only young boys. If you have young girls who are really good players and they want football to be a part of their lives, then they can also come,” he said.

Bell added that the reason why they have decided to start with a non-residential academy is the fact that it will take a lot of money to run a residential academy.

“We have a great facility here at St George’s College because we have Emmet Park. It has changing rooms and we have a gym up there and there is a hall up there and so it is a great place to start,” said Bell.

“I want it to start now, but I think that maybe by Easter we will have our first camp,” he said.

Continuing, Bell said: “We will try to help them with the techniques, fundamentals and hopefully we will get eight-year-olds and nine-year-olds and will develop their qualities as players and people.

Teach rather than coach

Bell, who is a former national youth coach, reasoned that Jamaica’s football will reach international standards only in a situation where we have coaches who teach football rather than coach football. Bell will be a coach and teacher at the academy.

“I am not certain what else my role will be, but I hope that I get an opportunity to even run the academy and this is what I want,” Bell said.

Margaret Campbell, principal of St George’s College, said she is in full support of the academy.

“It is about having a focus on football and on that talent in particular but it would not mean that we will not pay attention on the student’s academics,” said Campbell. “It would mean that we will now have a structured approach … and will ensure that they are balanced and that they do pay attention to football without compromising the other areas of their studies,” she said.

St George’s College dominated the 2011 schoolboy football season by winning the Manning and daCosta Cups and the Olivier Shield.


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