With less than twelve hours to go before the coaches from Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light touch down in Trinidad for the Digicel-organised football coaching clinics, they are full of excitement for what is ahead.
Sunderland’s Academy of Light Manager, Ged McNamee, shared some thoughts and expectations ahead of the kick off of the three-day coaching clinics this Saturday 12th December.
“Other than a family holiday a few years back in Cuba, this will be my first real trip to the Caribbean and so I am really looking forward to experiencing a new country and the culture of the Caribbean. In terms of the coaching clinics themselves, while we will be looking to assess and work on the technical abilities of these young players, we will also be looking for them to have the right attitude in terms of work rate, can do mentality and maturity. Those attributes are just as important to succeed in football as the raw talent element.”
The coaching clinics will also feature “Coach the Coach” sessions on day one where 15 junior coaches from Trinidad & Tobago’s Digicel Pro League will be put through their paces and given some insider tips and tricks by Sunderland’s Academy of Light Manager, Ged McNamee and Academy Coach, Carlton Fairweather. They will also be attended by two coaches from CFU club, 1.FC Santa Rosa – Timothy Rochford and Veronique Anderson.
Ged explains; “The Sunderland philosophy in any ‘Coach the Coach’ session is that we can learn as much as we can teach. This trip is a great opportunity to touch base with coaches in the Caribbean, have an open-ended discussion – and give and get advice so that together we can take the game forward in a positive way. In Trinidad, we will also be sharing with the coaches the latest research into how the game of football is changing so that we can work together to make the best use of this knowledge.”
Days two and three will see 30 of Trinidad & Tobago’s most talented Under 15 players taking part in coaching sessions, technical tests, question and answer sessions and small-sided games – in the build-up to the closing friendly match on Monday afternoon.
Ged continues; “We’re really hoping it goes well. Over the last two years, on the back of the Digicel Kick Start Clinics, we have had a total of sixteen boys from across the Caribbean come and train at Sunderland’s Academy of Light. The experience was a good one with Digicel supporting the kids to do their best and the boys reacting really well. There is an abundance of football talent in the Caribbean and Digicel has been doing a lot to support football at all levels of the game. These youth development programmes are an essential element to future success. We’re looking forward to working together with Digicel more and more in the future to identify and nurture the young talent that is out there.”
In wrapping up before he jumped on the plane to Trinidad, Ged said; “As well as having the boys give it their all – we are looking to see big smiles on the faces of the coaches and the players. Enjoyment of the game is another absolutely key element to success. So, my message to the young players and coaches in Trinidad is to come along brimming with energy and positivity and show us what you’ve got. We’re really excited about this weekend.”
Digicel is always finding new ways to bring football to everyone at all levels. As well as pioneering the hugely successful Digicel Kick Start Clinics across the Caribbean and Central America, Digicel also sponsors Trinidad & Tobago’s Pro League, 15 national football leagues and federations across the Caribbean and Central America, the Digicel Caribbean Championships and the Copa de Naciones Digicel in Central America.