Thousands Of Haitian Youths Tried Out For Digicel Kick Start Clinics

As the Digicel Kick Start Clinics gear up for the final leg in St. Kitts this week, President of the Haitian Football Federation, Yves John-Bart, reflects on the huge level of interest shown in this year’s Kick Start Clinics, with over 20,000 young Haitian footballers applying to be one of the 25 participants to be coached by John Barnes.

The Haitian Football boss said that the level of enthusiasm shown for the Digicel Kick Start Clinics has never been seen before and it was a huge challenge for his Federation to narrow down it down to just 25 players.

President Jean-Bart said: “Young players from football schools across the country wanted to be a part of the Digicel Kick Start Clinics but we only had 25 places available. Football is a huge sport in Haiti and I would say that every Haitian boy plays football in some way, shape or form, and wanted to be part of this year’s Kick Start Clinics.”

The aim of President John-Bart and his Federation is to build on the momentum created by the Digicel Kick Start Clinics and to organize more competitions for young footballers. He also pointed out that in a poor country, financing the development of football is a major challenge, but with the help of Digicel – sponsor of the Haitian Football Federation – they have been able to make a difference in the lives of the children.

“For me, the Digicel Kick Start Clinics are a gift to the Haitian football family. We get a lot of help from Digicel at all levels in this sport, but developing youth football is the most important part for us. We must focus on this and build a foundation for the future of this sport in Haiti – this is an area we are weak on,” he added.

As a result of the Digicel Kick Start Clinics, the football schools around Haiti are expecting increased membership as well as new football schools opening to cope with the demand. Over 50 of these football schools are located in Port au Prince.

The final leg of the Digicel Kick Start Clinics is taking place in St. Kitts on June 17th and 18th. On Saturday, June 20th Head Coach, John Barnes, will select eight talented young footballers to travel to Sunderland AFC to spend one week training in the club’s Academy of Light.