Sun | Apr 23, 2017

Region's best hone skills at Kickstart Academy

Published:Wednesday | October 29, 2014 | 10:00 AM

Telecommunications company Digicel extended its football initiatives to a regional platform with Monday's launch of the Digicel Kickstart Academy at Sabina Park.

The academy is a culmination of Digicel Kickstart Clinics, which gave more than 400 players a chance to train with coaches from Chelsea FC Foundation.

The coaches not only trained the best of each country's male and female players, but also hosted a separate session where the country's top youth coaches received the very latest coaching techniques, as used by Chelsea FC's youth teams.

It is being held in Jamaica for the first time - at the world-renowned cricket venue - and caters to 42 boys from across the Caribbean and Central America.

"We are confident that our Chelsea FC Foundation coaches and players will enjoy using top-class facilities at Sabina Park, as well as interacting with their teammates from across the Caribbean and Central America during the week-long training," said James Wynne, head of sponsorship, Digicel Group.

The boys are undergoing a week of intense training that will culminate in a final match between the Academy players and Jamaica's national Under-16 team.

Minister with responsibility for sport, Natalie Neita-Headley, lauded the programme.

She said: "Digicel is to be commended for its positive demonstration of confidence in the abilities and potential of the region's youth, as the Kickstart programme is building a cadre of skilled, professional footballers capable of making their mark not only within the region, but on the world stage."

Ferreira also endorsed the project.

"This is a great opportunity for these players to improve their skills not only in football, but in life," said Ferreira, who, along with the coaches, will visit a number of Digicel Jamaica Foundation projects and attend a local football match.

"These boys are being trained by one of the most successful football teams in the world and are developing skills that will aid their present and future success."