Sat | Jan 29, 2022

Ricky Hill eager to bring unique skill set to Montego Bay United

Published:Thursday | January 13, 2022 | 12:10 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

NEW MONTEGO Bay United technical director Ricky Hill believes that he has a unique set of coaching skills that can help lift the club and players.

Hill, a former England midfielder who has managed clubs such as Tampa Bay Rowdies, Luton Town, and San Juan Jabloteh in Trinidad, was officially presented to the public during a press conference at the club’s WesPow Park base in Montego Bay on Tuesday.

However, even though his priority is to raise the standard of the club’s professional players, he said there are also plans for an elaborate youth programme.

“I am absolutely delighted, of course (to be here). It is my first time having any length of time in Montego Bay, and I feel so comfortable here. I am pleasantly surprised with the facility here. It has so much growth that can be gained from it,” he noted.

“I am trying to help with all the development going on, and my expertise, I believe, is semi-unique in Jamaica.

“I am an A licence holder, a three-time coach of the year, and multiple championship winner in the Caribbean and in the United States, and I am an under-19 academy coach. So I have a unique skill set, which I believe will not just be of value to the players but to the coaches,” he said.

“My main [aim] is to improve the young professionals that we have here – from the 20-year-olds to the 28-year-olds.

According to Hill, he has put together more than 30 years of experience that he hopes to pass on to the benefit of not just Montego Bay United, but the country.

“I want to pass some of that knowledge to the players and coaches so they can improve Jamaica’s football going forward,” he stated while noting that he plans to implement a recreational programme for youth age six to 18, and from that, establish under-13, under-15, and under-17 elite programmes.

However, his most immediate task is getting the team up to a competitive level for the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) season, which begins on Sunday.

He has already done a few sessions with the team and is well aware of their inexperience.

HIGH EXPECTATIONS

Nevertheless, he knows there will be high expectations despite this shortcoming, but he is confident that the system they will put in place will lead to success.

“Five years ago we last won the league, but a lot has happened in five years. Expectation is always high with spectators, but with expectation there has to be realism.

“A number of these players have never played Premier League football in Jamaica before, so don’t believe they are going to hit the ground running from the first game without adjusting … .

“[They will be] playing against present and former international players, former overseas players who are coming back with a wealth of knowledge and great physical stature. So it would be wrong to put that amount of pressure on these boys,” he commented.

Despite that, Hill says the team is not fearful of the task at hand despite his own inexperience regarding the standard of the league.

Hill says his philosophy is an attacking one.

Montego Bay chairman Orville Powell said he decided to take the chance on Hill after his name was banded in local media as Theodore Whitmore’s replacement for the senior men’s team job, and in his research, he liked what he learned.

He said the aim was to also attract corporate sponsorship.

“It was discussed that he was coming for Withmore’s job, but when we found that was not so and that his association with the JFF was about the development of youngsters, we found that it fit right into where Mobay United want to go, so we made it happen,” Powell said.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com