Digicel, the largest mobile operator in the Caribbean and new entrant to the Central American market, today launched its youth football development program, the “Digicel Kick Start Clinics”, for the second year running in Suriname following successful clinics in Jamaica and Barbados.
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 realize their dreams and hope to impress English Premier League coaches and become professional footballers.
The Kickstart clinics are being held in May and June in six Caribbean countries namely Jamaica, Barbados, Suriname, Haiti, Trinidad and St. Kitts. In August, the Digicel Kick Start Clinics will move to Central America for the first time with clinics set for Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and El Salvador. Eight young Caribbean football talents will achieve their dream to train with Sunderland AFC in September.
Digicel Suriname, CEO Philip van Dalsen, commented, “This is a unique opportunity for Digicel Suriname to show that we not only invest in our network, but also in the youth of Suriname. Football is the number one sport in Suriname and speaks to the heart of old and young alike. That’s why Digicel has chosen to support the SVB (the Suriname Football Association) as much as we can in order to help develop football in Suriname.”
John Barnes, who has great memories of the players he encountered in Suriname at last year’s Kick Start Clinic which was held at the under-20 level, commented, “The Surinamese players have a good chance of being selected if they display the same quality and level of professionalism as they did last year. Last year, Emilio Limon had the honor of training with Sunderland AFC because of his remarkable performance. I am looking forward to having a great time again with the players again.”
Director of the SVB, Gordon van Suchem, speaking at this morning’s launch expressed his Association’s delight at being chosen once again to host the Digicel Kick Start Clinics. He complimented Digicel for its investment in the development of the youth players and promised that the players selected will do their best over the two days of training with John Barnes.
The Digicel Kick Start Clinics have created another first with two players from Guyana joining their neighbors from Suriname for the clinics which commence on Friday (tomorrow) and conclude on Saturday 16th of May at the Franklin Essed Stadion.
On Saturday, a friendly match will be played between the Digicel Suriname Football team and the Media team as a supporting encounter to the exhibition game. The exhibition game will be between the under-16 Digicel Kick Start team and the Inter Guiana Games under-19 team from Suriname who won the Inter Guiana Games football competition in Guyana – which also featured teams from host country Guyana and French Guiana – last month.
The Digicel Kick Start Clinics will also be giving back to the Surinamese community with John Barnes scheduled to visit the Opa Doelie Home for Kids to do a motivational speech for the boys.