Bridgetown, Barbados - President of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), Gordon Derrick, perceives the endorsement of the 2013 Digicel Chelsea Football Kick-Start Academy held in Barbados, as a pivotal step towards the development of young players across the region.
Derrick revealed his thoughts on the partnership and explained why the CFU were so eager to support the venture.
“Anytime you can find an established professional (football) club such as Chelsea FC and a dedicated sponsor like Digicel, it is a win-win scenario for all young footballers in the Caribbean as well as our coaches who have participated.
“This academy augurs well for the U-17 and U-20 competitions being staged next year and as all CFU countries now turn their attention to Russia 2018. The youth of the CFU are the future of the CFU; with this quality coaching provided by the academy the future looks extremely promising,” said Derrick.
The spectacular event took place last month (November) and saw 39 footballers from 12 countries converge at the historic Kensington Oval to be trained by the coaches of the Chelsea FC Foundation.
The Chelsea FC Foundation coaches are not only helping the players, but also dozens of coaches around the region – coaches that play a pivotal role in the growth and development of the sport.
Senior international football development officer of the Chelsea FC Foundation, David Monk explained: “Digicel and Chelsea FC have invested in numerous grassroots coaching workshops that have been amazingly beneficial to the development of coaches and players who now have the opportunity to work with one of the biggest football clubs in the world and also one of the biggest brands in the world.
We are confident that the development of the region’s football will continue thanks to the Chelsea FC Foundation’s partnership with the Digicel Kick Start programme,” said Monk.
President of the Barbados Football Association (BFA), Randy Harris, also commended Digicel for their initiative, “Digicel and Chelsea Football Club are definitely making a difference in the quality of football that is being played in the region. I am confident that the players who attended the academy – including our own Barbadian players – will see an improvement in their game.”
Digicel and Chelsea first started working together in 2012, when Michael Essien, Yossi Benaoun and club ambassador Graeme Le Saux joined Foundation coaches and local kids at a Digicel Kick Start clinic in Miami, Florida.