Sandals academy counts initial success
WESTERN BUREAU:National Under-15 football team head coach, Aaron Lawrence, has hailed the Sandals Football Academy (SFA) and admitted that a number of players were quite outstanding.
"These young players have tremendous ability and this academy run by Sandals is the way to go in order to cement the future for Jamaica's national football programme," said Lawrence.
"What Sandals has done is a good thing, and I hope to see more talented footballers coming out of this," he added.
The list of players with special qualities is Arnel Forbes, Garnet Hudson, Calwayne Allen, Denyu Ricketts, Antonio Ramson, Tavin Shaw, Richard Thompson, Robert Evans, and Calvin Gardner.
Signs of the boys' growth at the academy were played out when they won the All-Island Grassroots Competition in Kingston on June 21, defeating Trelawny 2-1. The young standouts also held their own in a practice match against the Reggae Girlz on May 31.
The nine, who represent the best of St James' young footballers, were chosen from the academy's pool of more than 50 players.
"Our boys looked good out there and I'm confident that some, if not all of them, will end up making the squad," stated St James Football Association head and SFA organiser, Gregory Daley, after the tryouts.
"We could see the technical part of their game that we've been working on for the past couple weeks at play; it was a proud moment," Daley said.
"This group of players is the future of local football and Sandals' commitment to their growth through this programme means that the future will be a bright one," Daley added.
Held on a weekly basis at Jarrett Park in Montego Bay, 20 local coaches put the boys and girls through their paces, teaching them the skills required for success in the sport, including fitness, technique, teamwork, and nutrition.
The academy is expected to continue next year, with the possibility of international coaches being invited to participate.