The 2nd staging of the annual Digicel Kick Start Clinics ran in May and June of 2009 in a further attempt to unearth talented youth footballers and give them the chance to train at the professional English training centre – Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light.
15-year-old Omar Holness was elated when he heard he was chosen from 22 Jamaican youth players: “I was elated but not surprised. I worked very hard to get this spot.”
The Wolmer’s Boys School 3rd former has been playing football since pre-school. With a father and uncle who both played High School football for Munroe College, football runs through Omar’s veins. At the age of 14, Omar represented Wolmer’s Boys in the 2008 Manning Cup Football Competition.
While Omar hopes to be selected to stay in Sunderland he is realistic: “I would love for Sunderland AFC to take me on and I will work hard to make it happen. But just in case that doesn’t happen, I hope to get a real feeling of what professional football is all about from my experience there.”
Glenmuir High’s 4th Former, Paul ‘KiKi’ Wilson was never afraid to play with the older boys. The fifth of six children, Paul has always been an inspiration to his Mother, Monica Forbes, who proudly raised him by herself.
On hearing the news, Monica already had high hopes for her son’s future: “I am so proud of Paul. I had my fingers crossed and when I heard John Barnes chose my Paul I was jumping around. Paul continues to make me proud. I feel very hopeful that he will get a scholarship in England and play professionally.”
“It is sometimes hard for me financially to ensure that he gets to practice and keeps up his football training, but I always try my best because I always knew he was special. His skills have already given him his scholarship to Glenmuir High and now they are taking him to England. The sky is the limit for my Paul.”
The 15-year-old now anticipating his second season playing in the Dacosta Cup for Glenmuir High, is intent of making the best of the opportunity: “I am very excited, I worked so hard to get this.
“This will be my first time travelling and to imagine that I will be going to England to train with a big side like Sunderland is such a great privilege. I am going to go there and do my best and get a scholarship and make my family proud.”
Omar and Paul, along with the six other Caribbean Youth Players will travel to Sunderland, England in September 2009 to train for one week at the prestigious Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light.
The facilities at Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light include a number of pitches, state-of-the-art training facilities, extensive medical and rehabilitation facilities, a hydrotherapy suite, medical areas and administration facilities housed on two levels.