- October, 13 2011 -
- Thirty-five young footballers begin training with England and Liverpool Legend, John Barnes
Thursday 13th October 2011 – Kingston, Jamaica: Digicel this morning officially kicked off the seventh and final leg of the Digicel Kick Start Clinics 2011 with a press conference at Barbican Beach in Kingston, Jamaica. In attendance were Head Coach and England and Liverpool football legend, John Barnes, and the manager of the Jamaican National team, Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore, as well as representatives from the Jamaican Football Federation and Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA).
The 35 aspiring young footballers, selected from the ISSA competition, will be put through their paces by John Barnes, assisted by Tappa Whitmore, during the two-day clinic, in the hope of securing a place in the Digicel Academy, which will take place in Trinidad from Tuesday 1st to Monday 7th November.
The Digicel Academy will see the ‘crème de la crème’ of young football talent from the eight Digicel Kick Start Clinic countries come together to attend a week-long elite training camp, under the leadership and guidance of top Barclays Premier League coaches from Sunderland’s “Academy of Light”, Kevin Ball and Carlton Fairweather, and assisted by John Barnes.
International Development Director for Sunderland AFC, Niall Quinn, commented;“Football is a universal language and it has the power to change lives. Community, family and football development are key values held by our football club and, working in partnership with Digicel, offering our coaching expertise and knowledge means that we can share the ethos of Sunderland with a wider audience.”
The young players attending the Digicel Academy will have the opportunity to work on their skills and technical ability, as well as learning vital life skills such as personal discipline, teamwork and dedication. In addition, coaches from elite United States prep schools will also travel to the Academy, scouting for boys who may fit the requirements to benefit from educational football scholarships to study in the US.
During the press conference, John Barnes spoke to the young footballers about what was expected of them, saying; “As a Jamaican footballer, I already know about the remarkable physical aptitude for football that young Jamaicans possess. What I want to see during the clinic is discipline, punctuality, respect for your teammates and a spirit of togetherness. Allied with your natural prowess, the right mentality – a football mentality – will make you great.”
The General Secretary of the Jamaican Football Association, Horace Reid, expressed his full support for the Kick Start Clinics initiative and his gratitude for Digicel’s commitment to community development, noting that; “It is easy to support those competing in the national stadiums, or at international championships, cheered on by crowds and recognised by the world. What is difficult is investing at the grassroots level but Digicel does it tirelessly and commendably.”
Mr Reid likened the efforts of the Digicel Kick Start Clinics to “finding little rocks and making them diamonds”, and encouraged the boys present to emulate Jamaican footballer, Omar Holness, who was selected for the Digicel Academy in Sunderland in 2009 and went on to become Captain of the Under-17s Jamaica National Football Team.
This final leg of the 2011 Digicel Kick Start Clinics will run today and tomorrow, at the end of which the four best players will be chosen by John Barnes to take up places at the Digicel Academy.
The Digicel Kick Start Clinics officially began on Sunday 18th September in Haiti, and have travelled 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.
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.