World Class Training Scheduled for Caribbean and Central American Talent

August 18th, 2010

Head coach,John Barnes pictured with the aspiring young players at the Digicel kick start clinics

Tuesday, August 17th 2010 – Sunderland, England: The eight boys from the Caribbean and Central America who were chosen from the Digicel Kick Start Clinics 2010 to train at Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light, are counting down the days to what is sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Academy Director, Ged McNamee, spoke exclusively to on what the boys can expect during next week’s trip to Sunderland.

“This is the third year of the Digicel Kick Start Clinics and each year it has been a very well organised, beneficial experience for all involved. For us, it gives us a chance to see the standard of football in the Caribbean and Central America and, of course, for the boys it gives them a once-in-a-lifetime experience to train at an English Premier League Club.

“This year, we are expecting an interesting week as we have boys from Central America – El Salvador, Honduras and Panama – and historically this region produces a lot of talented footballers so we are excited to see what skills the boys have.

“Usually, there are two training sessions per day at the Academy, but this is asking a lot from the boys who have travelled quite a distance and are only here for one week. They will have a full and varied schedule at the Academy, but will have only one training session each day and different activities in the afternoon. Academy Coach, Carlton Fairweather, and I will be holding most of the sessions but there will be other coaches available to the boys and depending on what we see, we may even do some special sessions with them.

“For the boys, having the opportunity to train at the Academy of Light is magnificent. The Academy is where aspiring young footballers come to learn the Academy’s philosophy of always trying to be the best you can be and doing things the right way. They will see what it’s like to play at Premiership level – on top-quality pitches, in a world class facility. The Digicel Kick Start Clinics boys will also have the opportunity to meet and chat with full time Academy students which is great exposure for them.

“The Academy boys are chosen through our scouting network. When they come to us full time at age 16, they are on a two-year scholarship. We provide them with the tools to bring out their best – but after that it really depends on them. Ultimately, how they progress and develop and how hard they work will influence their chances to sign a professional contract to play for Sunderland Athletic when they turn 18.”

Matthew Woo Ling from Trinidad & Tobago; Vidal Gonzalez and Fernando Meneses from Panama; Jose Villavicencio, Bryan Landaverde and Alvaro Lizama from El Salvador; and Julio Oliva and German Mejia from Honduras were the eight most talented footballers selected by John Barnes from the Digicel Kick Start Clinics. The Clinics took place in four countries in the Caribbean and Central America during the months of July and August.

The Digicel Kick Start Clinics are supported by Jack Warner, Vice President of FIFA and President of both CONCACAF and the Caribbean Football Union.
Digicel has been involved in a wide range of football initiatives designed to support the development of football in the Caribbean and Central America over the last six years. Digicel, which has operations in 32 countries worldwide, sponsors 17 Football Federations and Leagues, as well as the Digicel Caribbean Cup and the Copa de Naciones Digicel in Central America.

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