- October, 21 2011 -
- Last chance winners get one week of training under the leadership of top Barclays Premier League coaches
Friday, October 21st 2011 – Kingston, Jamaica: After taking part in the Jamaican leg of the 2011 Digicel Kick Start Clinics last week, young footballers Shamar Dillon and Dominic James scored themselves a place at the Digicel Academy at the eleventh hour, having achieved the highest points in the Digicel Hot Shot Wild Card competition.
Despite having not been originally selected to represent Jamaica at the Academy, Shamar Dillon and Dominic James played their best in the Hot Shot contest – a skills-based shooting competition with participants gaining points for shots netted through a cover over the goal. Scoring 60 and 75 points respectively, their high scores placed them above the other Hot Shot winners from Haiti, Panama, St Kitts & Nevis, Grenada and Suriname, guaranteeing them the two ‘wild card’ places.
The lucky boys will now join the ‘crème de la crème’ of young footballing talent at the Digicel Academy – a week-long elite training camp which will be led by top Barclays Premier League coaches from Sunderland’s “Academy of Light”, Kevin Ball and Carlton Fairweather, with assistance from John Barnes.
15-year old Shamar Dillon spoke of his excitement at winning a ‘wild card’ place, saying; “I was disappointed when I didn’t win a place at first, but I felt confident with the ball during the Hot Shot contest and I was very excited to be told I won that. I’m looking forward to the Digicel Academy, especially as it’s the very first time I’m going overseas. The best part will be meeting the Sunderland coaches and getting training tips from them.”
A total of 37 aspiring young footballers will attend the Academy in Trinidad from November 1st to 7th, made up from the original Digicel Kick Start Clinics winners, along with boys chosen in Antigua and Trinidad through separate selection processes.
Throughout the week, the boys will train extensively under Sunderland’s “Academy of Light” coaches, Kevin Ball and Carlton Fairweather, and will also be treated to cultural and educational outings. The once-in-a-lifetime experience will see the youngsters train as professional footballers for a week, and will also teach them invaluable life skills such as personal discipline, teamwork and good sportsmanship.
Speaking of his hopes for the upcoming Digicel Academy, Carlton Fairweather commented; “It’s a huge honour for me personally and of course, for Sunderland Football Club, to be playing a part in the ongoing development of football across the Caribbean and Central America. We are looking forward to working with this talented group of youngsters and seeing just how far they can go.”
In addition, the Digicel Academy will also host ‘coach the coaches’ sessions, with one local football association coach from each region travelling to receive training and tips from the world class Sunderland coaches, with an aim to improve their own standard of coaching upon returning home.
The Digicel Kick Start Clinics officially began on Sunday 18th September in Haiti, before travelling on to Panama, New York, St Kitts & Nevis, Grenada, Suriname and Jamaica. The clinics will now culminate in a week long training session at the Digicel Academy in Trinidad from Tuesday November 1st to Monday November 7th.
For more information, visit www.digicelfootball.com.
THE ROAD TO THE ACADEMY TIMELINE
Location Digicel Kick Start Clinic Dates
- Haiti Sunday 18th – Thursday 22nd September
- Panama Friday 23rd – Monday 26th September
- New York Tuesday 27th – Friday 30th September
- St. Kitts & Nevis Saturday 1st – Tuesday 4th October
- Grenada Wednesday 5th – Saturday 8th October
- Suriname Sunday 9th – Wednesday 12th October
- Jamaica Thursday 13th – Sunday 16th October
- Trinidad Digicel Academy – Tuesday 1st – Monday 7th November
ABOUT SUNDERLAND AFC
Formed in 1879, Sunderland AFC joined the English Football League in 1890.
Based in the football hotbed of the North East of England, the club has a rich and proud history stretching across many decades, most memorably lifting the top accolade in English Football, the FA Cup, in 1937 and 1973.
Also known as the Black Cats, Sunderland play their home matches at the 49,000 capacity Stadium of Light, moving from their former home of Roker Park in 1997.
In 2010-11 the club finished in the top ten of the Barclays Premier League and subsequently made 11 additions to its playing squad in the summer of 2011 - including Wes Brown and John O’Shea from Manchester United, Swedish international Sebastian Larsson, South Korean striker Ji Dong Won and England U21 rising star Connor Wickham.
SUNDERLAND AFC & DIGICEL
Sunderland AFC has partnered with Digicel in the hugely successful Kick Start Clinics since 2008, welcoming youngsters from the project to its training headquarters as well as sending senior coaching staff to the Caribbean to lead clinics.
Manager of Sunderland AFC, Steve Bruce, said: “Sunderland is proud to be associated with such a successful project and we are delighted that we can continue to share our club’s expertise and help to give youngsters across the Caribbean and Central America the opportunity to achieve their football dreams.”
ABOUT DIGICEL GROUP
After ten years of operation, Digicel Group Limited has 11.5 million customers across its 32 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and the Pacific. The company is renowned for delivering best value, best service and best network.
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 Cup. In the Pacific, Digicel is the proud sponsor of several national rugby teams and also sponsors the Vanuatu cricket team.
Digicel also runs a host of community-based initiatives across its markets and has set up Digicel Foundations in Jamaica, Haiti and Papua New Guinea which focus on educational, cultural and social development programmes.
In 2004, Digicel developed Digicel Rising Stars – an annual talent show to support aspiring young music artists in the Caribbean. The show has spanned the Eastern Caribbean, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago ranking as one of the top-rated shows.
Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and its 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.
Visit www.digicelgroup.com for more information.