‘That is absolute rubbish’
Coaches, sponsor ask for development plan for youth footballDecry overdependence on schoolboy tournaments
AT LAST week’s Jamaica Premier League (JPL) press conference, local coaches Ludlow Bernard and Andrew Price, and one sponsor, Conroy Rose of the Victoria Mutual Group, were once again calling for greater investment and focus on proper developmental...
AT LAST week’s Jamaica Premier League (JPL) press conference, local coaches Ludlow Bernard and Andrew Price, and one sponsor, Conroy Rose of the Victoria Mutual Group, were once again calling for greater investment and focus on proper developmental structure for the nation’s young footballers.
Humble Lion coach Price, like many other local coaches, believes that the lack of a good national structure continues to short-change the development of local players.
He believes that for players with ability and interest to be successful professionals, they should be able to matriculate through the various age groups before transitioning.
However, the system, domestically, makes it tough for players to transition, players, who he points out, are getting contracts overseas but are returning within a year.
“One of the reasons why that happens is because they do not have that professional instinct.
“We are blessed with talent. We are the best in the world in everything we do. But it is how much we invest and are committed to a particular sport.
“There are a lot of best practices that we can use from across the world and incorporate here. It is not rocket science, but we must have a commitment if we want to do it. We have to be committed to the process of development,” he said.
He added that to use schoolboy football as the main source of talent identification is insufficient and argues that due respect and support must be given to the clubs, which are the bedrock of local football development.
He believes that youth players from at least age eight upwards should be attached to clubs so they can continue their development year round.
“We have an overdependence on schoolboy football to unearth talent, and that is absolute rubbish. Schoolboy football is not more than three months, and that is if you do well.
“You cannot unearth talent by just going into schoolboy football and choosing one and two players.
“Our kids need to be playing football consistently, 365 days of the year, and constantly be in a competitive environment to improve. So we have to focus on the clubs.”
Harbour View Premier League coach Bernard, who spent the majority of his career as a youth coach, believes he could do a better job than most current parish associations.
He noted that while flirting with the fantasy of being a parish president, his strategy would be to cut the parish into four quarters and develop club structure and development programmes.
“You would encourage competitions throughout the year. Some parishes are not blessed with a lot of businesses that can provide sponsorship.
“But under-13, under-15, and under-17s, you must have these competitions, and it does not have to be one. There can be multiple, and it will complement the schoolboy football later on in the year,” said Bernard.
“The organisations (clubs) must be developed by the parish associations, and that will ultimately lead to development.”
Conroy Rose, VM Group’s chief sales officer, was inspired by the coaches and was inclined to give his thoughts on the subject.
According to Rose, the lack of structure is the reason his company continues to sponsor and support youth football in western Jamaica.
“What I am hearing is strategy, alignment to strategy and culture or the lack thereof.
“I am totally in agreement with the coaches in terms of the development programme.
“So my question is, how do we get to drive this belief and culture? How can we get these people to start thinking this way because it has to be established?
“We need all our stakeholders on board. We need to say, what is this structure? What is going to drive the action that we really want
“Strategy drives culture and structure. Once the culture has been established, the structure will drive behaviour, and those persons will be rewarded,” he said.