“Last year’s Academy had a great selection of players. However, they were mainly attacking oriented players and so we knew that the region had a lot more to offer in terms of players who played well in other positions. Our goal at the Clinics was to find these players in order to get a better mix at the Academy.”
David described this year’s group of players at the Academy as being very mature and the team cohesion has also improved – which he attributes to the high level of professionalism among the boys – something that he readily sees among international players. He said; “The boys express themselves on the field, meaning they display the confidence and versatility to try new things with the ball in a responsible manner based on their level of play. This translates into flair and improvisation that is used in correct areas of the football pitch. This expression on the field demonstrates maturity.”
Thanks to Digicel’s efforts, there are now 11 countries involved in the Kick Start programme, meaning that now, with the support of the Chelsea FC Foundation, even more young footballers are getting this fantastic chance to be a part of the Kick Start programme.
The Chelsea FC Foundation coaches are not only helping the players, but also dozens of coaches around the region – coaches that play a pivotal role in the growth and development of the sport. “Digicel and Chelsea FC have invested in numerous grassroots coaching workshops that have been amazingly beneficial to the development of coaches and players who now have the opportunity to work with one of the biggest football clubs in the world and also one of the biggest brands in the world. We are confident that the development of the region’s football will continue thanks to the Chelsea FC Foundation’s partnership with the Digicel Kick Start programme,” concluded Monk.
The Digicel Kick Start Clinics programme is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the thousands of aspiring young footballers. These players are not only taught skills and technical ability but also an ethos of professionalism and a good attitude – critical attributes of successful people in all walks of life. Now in their sixth year, the Clinics saw thousands of aspiring young footballers from across 11 countries in the Caribbean and Central America try out for their chance to travel to the Digicel Academy. During the Clinics, the best players from each country trained under the coaches in the hope of being one of the top four chosen by them to go to the Digicel Academy in Barbados to represent their country.
During the week-long Digicel Academy, the top 39 boys from across the region get the chance of a lifetime to receive intensive training under coaches from Barclays Premier League side, Chelsea Football Club.