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Bajan ‘ballers show off skills

Renaldo Gilkes

Bajan ‘ballers show off skills

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Over 40 players from the Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) Under-21 programme were offered the opportunity of a lifetime yesterday, to put their skills on show at the Soccerex Americas showcase.

University of the West Indies’ Paradise Park facility was the host venue not just for the local players and coaches, but most notably for employees of English Premier League clubs and Major League Soccer (MLS) of the United States.

Arsenal scout for the Americas, Danny Karbassiyoon, Chelsea’s Youth team coach Dermot Drummy, and Chicago Fire’s Trevor James were on hand and up close to take a look at the talent Barbados has to offer.

As the players took part in a number of technical and tactical exercises, the coaches took the opportunity to give advice and experiences to aid in the players’ development.

The coaches collectively acknowledged the technical abilities and skills of the players and said it was part of the reason why they had come to these shores.

“Working globally with Chelsea and linking with Soccerex, to come and view the different levels of playing and experience the quality of players and coaches is why we are here,” stated Drummy.

Karbassiyoon concurred. “The game has became so global and the world has opener their eyes to the fact that there is talent everywhere and I think it is our job to find that talent, no matter where it is,” he said.

MLS, still relatively young as compared to the English Premier League, has grown in size and stature, due to an influx of foreign stars, a good grassroots programme and fine scouting by coaches such as Chicago Fire’s  James.

He mentioned the array of talent that is available in the Caribbean and how the MLS had big plans in place for the region.

“We are looking to get more involved in the Caribbean; increasing our scouting and awareness of the programmes and this is one we’ve been hearing about for a while”.

President of the BFA Randy Harris mentioned constantly and most recently the importance of coaching education and this sentiment was echoed by the three coaches.

They strongly believe that all programmes of development and competition depend highly on the knowledge of the coaches and their philosophy.

Drummy had this bit of advice for our local football fraternity:

“Get the coaches to get more coaching education along with getting them abroad to see European and South American coaches.”

He added that there must be homogeneity and a clear understanding of the direction being taken by all stakeholders involved in football.

“There must be an agreed philosophy for Barbados football, especially amongst the coaches and work towards that philosophy.”

The clinic continues today with players of the Under-15 and Under-17 age group on show.