Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Aubyn Ferguson, head coach of Jamaica's Under-21 men's hockey team which participated at last month's Junior Pam American Championships, has called on the local body to provide more international tournaments for junior players.
Jamaica finished 11th of 13 teams in the championships, held in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Jamaicans played eight games. They won three, drew two and lost three. Argentina topped the tournament ahead of Canada and Uruguay.
"We need constant and sustained international exposure supported by grass-roots developments such as junior programmes, which will help enhance the development of the sport," said Ferguson.
"We need to start playing a lot more hockey and we need to have a lot more local competitions to garner interest and to get a lot more kids involved in the sport from a tender age. We also need to improve the level of coaching right across the board in the Jamaica," he added.
Ferguson said that he was very pleased with his team's performance, given the tight training schedule and inexperience of players prior to taking part in the tournament.
"I think that the team showed improvement in every game that we played at the Pan American tournament, because we were able to make adjustments based on the conditions of play in each match.
"I think if we had a lot more exposure, then I believe that we would have finished higher up the table because, given our limitations in training and the economic support that we had, we did well," Ferguson pointed out.
Ferguson singled out team captain Kemar Mitchell, who netted 13 goals at the championships and was shortlisted for the player of the tournament award.
"He is a good player, who has a lot more to offer to the sport and I believe that with more support and application, the sky is the limit for him," Ferguson said.
Jamaica finished ahead of Puerto Rico and Guatemala, who ended in 12th and 13th places, respectively.