As the Digicel Kick Start Clinics continue across the Caribbean and Central America, the best youth footballers from the Haiti and Suriname have been chosen by England and Liverpool legend John Barnes.
The Haiti boys, Reginald Demorin, Jonel Desiré, Williams Barthelemy and Jean-Jacques Jephté Edysson, will join the Surinamese in Sorencio Juliaans, Donnegy Fer and Anfernee Kleberg – as well as their counterparts from the United States and Panama in Barbados this October, where they will undergo a week-long training programme under coaches from Chelsea FC.
Demorin, 15, said: “I am so very happy to be chosen to take part in such a great experience, I feel the door is now open for me in terms of my footballing career and I am so excited.”
Speaking on the talent he has seen so far, Barnes, said; “In Haiti, I consistently see the highest level of talent in this age group across the region and I could easily have chosen many more than the allocated number. So, in making my final picks, I also rely heavily on the local coaches who can tell me about the boys’ attitude and character – as these are qualities I cannot judge in just two days.
“The thing about Haiti is that it has an excellent Under-17 team so in theory it should naturally follow that it would have a good national team – but that’s not happening. I believe that this is because of the environment, as when they get older, these boys need to get a job and support their families – and so their football suffers, which is a great shame.
“In Suriname, again we see a lot of talent and what’s nice about this year is that about half of the boys are the same as last year’s pool of talent, which shows that there is consistency and that the boys are improving.”