Digicel, the largest mobile operator in the Caribbean and new entrant to the Central American market, today launched the second leg of its youth football development programme, the “ Digicel Kick Start Clinics”, at the offices of Digicel Barbados at Hastings, Christ Church.
A huge hit across the region last year, the Digicel Kick Start Clinics give young footballers the chance to be trained by John Barnes, one of the world’s most famous players, a former England and Liverpool star and current coach of Jamaica’s national team, the Reggae Boyz – as well as the chance to realise their dreams and hope to impress English Premier League coaches and become professional footballers.
This year’s Digicel Kick Start Clinics will be even Bigger and Better with the addition of Central America to the programme. The eight best Under 16 players from across the Caribbean region will be given the chance to train for a week with Sunderland AFC in September– while the four best Central American Under 16 talents will train with Liverpool FC in October for a week.
The Digicel Kick Start Clinics will take place throughout May and June in six countries across the Caribbean – Jamaica, Barbados, Suriname, Haiti, Trinidad and St. Kitts – before moving on, for the first time, to Central America where Digicel youth clinics will take place in Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and El Salvador throughout August.
Speaking at the press conference in Hastings, Barbados, the Digicel Kick Start Clinics Head Coach, John Barnes said, “I am happy to be back in Barbados. What I’ll be looking for from these players is the right attitude, desire and spirit because Bajan players have lots of ability, lots of speed and lots of strength. Where we generally lack in the Caribbean is our togetherness, spirit and desire. So, while I expect to see lots of technically good players, I’ll be impressing upon them that those are the attributes I’m looking for because that’s what you will need if you are going to make it as a professional at the top level.”
The Digicel Kick Start Clinics last year were an inspiring experience. In each and every one of the eight countries visited, talented, enthusiastic and dedicated young players were identified.
Digicel Barbados CEO, Barry O’Brien, commented, “We are thrilled to be hosting this Kick Start Clinic for the second time and we’re honored to have John Barnes host it for the second time. Our commitment and development to football is well known in Barbados and across the Caribbean, and we are continually working with the BFA to make football bigger and better.”
The Digicel Kick Start Clinics are made possible by the full support of President Jack Warner of the Caribbean Football Union, whose vision has now propelled the clinics further afield into Central America.
Commenting on the clinics, Barbados Football Association, President Ronald Jones, who is also Barbados’ Minister of Education said; “The BFA is extremely happy that the CFU and our Association have been involved with Digicel in football. It has been a tremendous partnership and we have seen a high level of development and growth.
“This development has come about with Digicel’s involvement and we look forward to continuing this partnership. We also delighted to have John Barnes here as it is a great opportunity for our young players to be exposed to his expertise.”
Full details of the Digicel Kick Start Clinics will be announced locally over the coming weeks and will include details on how local clubs and school teams can have the opportunity to be part of these once in a lifetime football development clinics.