One week of intense and high powered training at Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light came to a satisfying end for the eight Digicel Kick Start Clinic players on Friday.
The boys, who were selected from among hundreds of their peers from six Caribbean countries, had the best week of their lives at what is regarded as one of the best football Academies in England.
Giving a wrap up on the training week, Academy Manager, Ged McNamee, said the boys have done well and are good technically. He noted that the boys came into the Academy with a great attitude and worked hard throughout.
“Anything they were asked to do, they did. What we noticed last year and again this year is that they all played with smiles on their faces – that’s really important because it shows that they are enjoying it. Whatever level they eventually end up playing at, it is important that they play with a smile on their face.”
McNamee said the next step for them at the Academy would see him sitting down with Coaches, Carlton Fairweather and Ian Dipper, who both worked with the players at varying periods during the five days to evaluate each of the boys
A decision, he said, would be made about inviting one or two of the players back. “It’s always a group decision and I think that that’s the best way to do it.”
McNamee said it was obvious that the players worked the ball a lot from a technical aspect and that they are comfortable with the ball dribbling, but they focused a great deal on the passing aspect as well at the Academy .
“They can practice that when they go back, the long pass – not just the short pass which they are already good at. It’s just them seeing things that we do and then going on to practice it for themselves.”
Out of the group of players, McNamee said that in particular one of the Jamaican players has caught their attention but that more details would become known once they had sat down and done a full review.
During the one week of training, the players were introduced to various training routines – most of which were new to them. They were able to train with Under 16 and Under 18 players who attend the Academy on a full time basis. Recovery sessions also took place in the pool and gym where the methods used were again new to the boys who also benefited from a number of educational tours during their week’s stay at Sunderland.
Jamie Dean, Group Head of Sponsorship for Digicel, commented; “The boys have had a great week at Sunderland and are coming home full of excitement and enthusiasm. We’re delighted that they have made such a good impression on the coaches and would like to thank Sunderland AFC for all of their efforts and hospitality. We very much look forward to continuing and strengthening our partnership.”