To win a place in the Digicel Academy, aspiring young footballers must qualify from the Digicel Kick Start Clinics which will take place during several weeks and across eight countries from September to October, under the expert coaching of John Barnes. From each of the eight clinic countries, a number of players will be selected to go through to the elite Digicel Academy where they will spend a week developing their skills and technical ability as well as learning valuable life skills such as personal awareness and self-esteem—all through positive reinforcement, fostering an appreciation of soccer’s intrinsic values.
While in previous Digicel Kick Start Clinic programs, the select few aspiring young footballers won a chance to spend a week in Sunderland AFC, this year Digicel is bringing these internationally-acclaimed professional coaches to teach in the Digicel Academy—meaning many more players will have the chance to fulfill their dreams of being coached at Premier League level.
The broader, more inclusive approach to the new look Digicel Kick Start clinics program was developed in consultation with the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and its affiliate members. Ultimately, the week-long training camp at the Digicel Academy will host the crème de la crème of the region’s talent where they will receive expert coaching in the beautiful game. In addition to the new Digicel Academy, the selection process has been developed to include dozens of pre-clinic sessions being held in each of the eight countries, giving even more aspiring young footballers the chance to fulfill their dreams.
The Digicel Academy will also host a “coach the coaches” seminar in which coaches from across the region will get expert training from Sunderland AFC’s finest teachers. Digicel Group Head of Sponsorship, Karl Donnelly, said; “At Digicel, we believe the game of soccer has a unique way of bringing people together and teaching our youth not just about the skills of the beautiful game—but also about valuable life skills like discipline, respect, commitment and teamwork. As such, we are thrilled to be bringing the Digicel Kick Start Clinics back to the Caribbean for a fourth year with Barnes.
“Not only will the clinics give hundreds of aspiring young footballers the chance to train and improve, but this year we are very proud to be introducing the Digicel Academy —a first of its kind elite training facility where internationally-acclaimed coaches will train the best of the region’s footballing talent.” The Digicel Kick Start clinics program officially kicks off on September 18 in Haiti before travelling on to Panama, New York, St Kitts/Nevis, Grenada, Suriname, Jamaica and T&T, culminating in a week long training session at the Digicel Academy (also in Trinidad) from November 1-7.