College play is the goal

Aspiring footballers hoping to get
a scholarship to the US headed to the Mary Miller Hall on Saturday for a
special event.

Recruiters from the US were here to
outline the criteria they are looking for if students want to gain full
scholarships.

Bodden Town coach Elbert McLean was
there with BT’s president Mark Scotland, who is also the Minister of Sport.
They brought most of the team with them.

One of the seminar’s organisers was
Darrel Rankine who said: “This was about preparing the student athletes for
college if they have an interest in going to the US to further their education
and looking at sport as a vehicle to get there.

“It went reasonably well. We had
about nine parents and students turned up. I would have liked more. We had
Monique Garcia from Florida International University. She is a compliance
officer there.

“She did a presentation and we also
had Everton ‘Sergeant’ Edwards who runs his company Elite Sports which we have
a partnership with.

“He takes care of the US things for
us. From 8-10 April we’re going to invite 16 or so coaches down from the US and
they’re going to look at the students in an average of three games to decide if
they have an interest in them.

“The hope is that one or two
students will pick up an athletic scholarship and hopefully ease a burden on
their family and the government.

“Elbert turned up with his whole
team and I’m sure that’s a good influence from the Minister of Sports and
Elbert as well.”

Englishman Edwards, a former pro
with Florida Strikers, said: “Last year we had a showcase here and there was a
lot of interest. But when we were looking at the transcripts and test scores
some had great test scores but we didn’t have the rest of the information.

“So this year we decided to prepare
them which is why we’ve come here now. We’ve now got all their information and
can email them links so they know what the criteria is.”

Edwards coached at the Florida
International University for 21 years after he finished playing. Now he is
consulting and he is assistant coach to the USA women’s Under-23 team.

How are they doing? “Brilliant, of
course,” he laughs.