ST. JOHN’S, Antigua (November 20, 2015) – A 19-member Caribbean Football Union (CFU) All-Star U19 team will contest the November 25-29, 2015 Copa Rayados – a tournament and scouting initiative – in San Antonio, Texas with the aim of being such exemplars of talent that scouts will be drawn to the region, Head Coach Lenny Lake said. Lake, who is the St. Kitts and Nevis Technical Director, said while it is a tall order to meld players from eight countries into a single, effective unit in an extremely short period, the task is not insurmountable.
In fact, Lake is confident that the team will do well. “We are all from one region.
We have similar cultures and playing styles, and so although the players are coming from various countries, we have done tournaments together, competing against each other, and most of the players, from U15, have been in contact with each other,” Lake said. “Over the days we have before we play, we will be able to make the adjustments and adapt to what we are going to do.
Our objectives are to be good ambassadors for the region and to showcase the talent that the Caribbean has. Our opponents will be teams that have been together for a long time, so our objective is to go and perform well and to showcase the talents, so that the pro-scouts and college scouts who are there are interested in giving opportunities to the young players,” Lake added. The rest of the management team is Andrew Edwards, Head Coach of the Jamaica U- 17 Men’s team; Antigua and Barbuda’s Fernando Abraham is the Manager/Head of Delegation; while Jason Jno Baptiste from Dominica is the Equipment Manager.
The All-Star team is comprised of Jacob Bordon and Raejac Joseph, USVI; G. Vaune Amory, Tahir Hanley, Yohnaanes Battice, Malik Liburd, and Yusuf Saunders, St. Kitts and Nevis; Andrez Joseph, and Fitz Jolly, Dominica; Germain Hughes, Anguilla; Javorn Stevens, Shavorn Phillip and Rodre Hunte, Antigua and Barbuda; Alberto Santiago and Dennis Beltre, Puerto Rico; Richinelo Francisca, Curacao; and Jabulani Lindsay, Jahwahni Hinds, and Tajae Brown, Jamaica. This is the first time the CFU has participated in such an event requiring a combined team, and General Secretary Neil Cochrane said the benefits to be derived make the efforts worth the while. “This is an opportunity for young players from the region to match their skills against their international peers, and it also gives them a chance to be seen by college and pro-scouts. The benefits of such an event cannot be gainsaid,” Cochrane said. Lake concurred, saying, “It is rewarding to have talented players from across the Caribbean coming together in this way for the first time.
“This is an initiative that we need to continue, to make it an incentive for young talent across the region. I commend the President of the CFU Gordon Derrick, the General Secretary and the Executive Committee for this foresight. Only a lot of positives can come from it,” Lake said. The CFU All-Stars will play against GRAF Academy from Ecuador, Futeca of Guatemala, FC Kallon of Sierra Leone, which is the top pro club from that country, and three teams from top school programmes in Mexico, the organizers of Copa Rayados said. The matches will be watched by pro-scouts and scouts from top-tier colleges and universities in the USA. More information and lists of the schools may be found at http://www.coparayados.com/.
“It is something to look forward to and something to aspire to achieve – a chance for players to be showcased to pro-scouts and college scouts from the US and Canada. We aim to be good ambassadors to attract more people to come to our region,” Lake said. The CFU president, meanwhile, said the overarching aim is to create similar opportunities for footballers from the Caribbean.
“Our vision, in addition to looking about the welfare of our Member Associations, extends beyond planning and staging tournaments and contesting qualifiers. We aim to explore all avenues that will provide opportunities – at the college/university and professional levels – for our players.
We have world-class talent and ability here, and the CFU will work unceasingly to ensure that the people in the right places know and see it,” President Derrick said. The CFU All-Star team will leave on November 22 and return on November 30.