The 2012 Digicel Kick Start Clinics in Miami marked a momentous partnership with European and FA Cup Champions, Chelsea Football Club. At the launch, Chelsea first-team players took part in the coaching clinic with 30 young players from the Caribbean and Central American communities of South Florida.
The Digicel clinics – which are now in their fifth year – will see thousands of aspiring young footballers from across the eight countries in the Caribbean, Central America and the United States try out for their chance to travel to the Digicel Academy where they will be trained by Chelsea FC Foundation coaches.
With this significant relationship with Chelsea FC – Europe’s best team – Digicel is further demonstrating its commitment to the ongoing development of grassroots football across the Caribbean and Central America.
Ron Gourlay, Chief Executive of Chelsea FC, said; “Chelsea FC’s ‘Here to Play, Here to Stay’ tour in America isn’t just about preparing for the upcoming season by training in superb facilities as well as playing top-class opposition in fantastic stadiums, it is also important to us to pass on our knowledge and experience to young players and coaches.
“We are delighted to be partnering with Digicel as part of their grassroots clinics, which will see thousands of young footballers try out for their chance to be trained by our foundation coaches at the Digicel Academy later this year.”
In Florida, players aged 14-16 were put through their paces by foundation coaches and Chelsea club ambassador, Graeme Le Saux. The clinics will move on to Panama where England footballing legend and Digicel Kick Start Head Coach John Barnes will train over 30 boys from across the country.
Digicel Group Director of Marketing Operations Kieran Foley said: “Digicel is proud to be partnering with Chelsea FC for our Digicel Kick Start Clinics programme which we believe is fundamental to the positive future of the sport in the region.
“As part of Digicel’s overall football strategy, we believe that grassroots football is essential to the ongoing development of the sport and to the young participants.
“The Chelsea FC Foundation coaches will also act as role models for many of the players. In addition to being taught skill and technical proficiency, they will also develop an ethos of professionalism and a good attitude – critical attributes to succeeding in any walk of life.”
After Panama, the clinics will travel to Haiti, Suriname, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis and Jamaica. The top four most talented footballers from each country will be chosen to travel to the Digicel Academy, which takes place in Barbados in October.
For the record, Digicel were also the main sponsor of the Chelsea versus AC Milan exhibition match, which took place last Saturday in the Sun Life Stadium, Miami.