- August, 28 2010 -
Saturday, August 28th 2010 – Sunderland, England: Eight young footballers from the Caribbean and Central America – who were selected by England and Liverpool football legend, John Barnes, from the Digicel Kick Start Clinics 2010 – yesterday completed a week’s training at Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light with some of the best coaches in the Barclays Premier League.
Sunderland AFC manager and former Manchester United legend, Steve Bruce, spoke exclusively to www.digicelfootball.com about how the Digicel Kick Start Clinics winners have improved this week, what an opportunity to train at Sunderland AFC’s Academy offers to aspiring young footballers, and what is the key to becoming a successful footballer on the world stage.
“I understand from our coaching staff that the boys have approached their week here with us with enthusiasm and applied themselves very well. I’m sure it has been hard for them on many fronts – the language barrier, being a long distance away from home and, of course, training at an increased intensity that they are simply not used to. I think they’ve acquitted themselves well and given a great account of themselves.
“In terms of talent coming out of the Caribbean and Central America, these regions have produced a number of world-class footballers over the years – John Barnes, Dwight Yorke and Kenwyne Jones to name but a few – and you can see that football is clearly emerging and growing in these parts of the world,” he continued.
“Going forward, I think it’s important that the boys build on what they have learned from their time with us. Hopefully, they will have realised that to become a top footballer you have to put the work in – day in, day out. It’s about giving your all in training every day, learning from those around you, listening to your coaches and applying yourself. Mentality is so important too – you have to have the right attitude to succeed.
“The boys met two of our Paraguayan players – defender, Paula Da Silva, and midfielder, Cristian Riveros, and if the boys want to play at their level, all they can do is continue to work hard. If they have the ability and they apply themselves in the right way, then the opportunities will come to them.
When speaking about the importance of harnessing talent from a young age, and the benefits of initiatives such as the Digicel Kick Start Clinics partnering with Sunderland AFC, Steve said; “Naturally, if you are working with players at a young age it gives you the chance to teach them good habits early. You have to be careful not to stifle natural ability, but it is important that youngsters learn discipline, technique and game play early in their careers.
“Having the chance to come here to the Academy is a once in a lifetime opportunity for these boys. We are fortunate here in Sunderland to have some of the most amazing facilities that give us everything a professional footballer could possibly need. Add to this the experience of our coaching staff and Digicel, and these aspiring young footballers are getting world class training at a very young age.”
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 Digicel Kick Start Clinics are supported by Jack Warner, Vice President of FIFA and President of both CONCACAF and the Caribbean Football Union.
The Clinics – which kicked off on July 20th in Trinidad & Tobago, before moving on to Panama, El Salvador and Honduras – saw 150 talented young footballers receive expert coaching in the beautiful game.
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.
For more information, visit www.digicelfootball.com
ABOUT DIGICEL GROUP
After nine years of operation, Digicel Group Limited has 10.8 million customers across its 32 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific. The company is renowned for competitive rates, unbeatable coverage, superior customer care, a wide variety of products and services and state-of-the-art handsets. By offering innovative wireless services and community support, Digicel has become a leading brand in the 32 markets it operates in, placing these regions at the cutting-edge of wireless communications.
Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and its Caribbean, Central American and Pacific markets comprise: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Nauru, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, St Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos and Vanuatu. Digicel also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barts in the Caribbean.
Digicel is the lead sponsor of Caribbean, Central American and Pacific sports teams, including the Special Olympics teams throughout these regions. Digicel sponsors the West Indies cricket team and is also the title sponsor of the Digicel Caribbean Championships and the Copa de Naciones Digicel, which are the Caribbean and Central American qualifiers to the CONCACAF Gold Cup. And in the Pacific, Digicel is the proud sponsor of several national rugby teams including the Digicel Fiji 7s, Digicel Tonga Ikale Tahi 7s and 15s and the Digicel Vanuatu 7s and 15s. Digicel also sponsors the Vanuatu Cricket team.
In 2004, Digicel developed an American Idol-type talent show in the Caribbean – Digicel Rising Stars – to support aspiring young music artists. The annual talent show has spanned the Eastern Caribbean, Jamaica, Haiti and Trinidad & Tobago, ranking as one of the top-rated shows in each market.
Visit www.digicelgroup.com for more information on Digicel.