Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light coaches will put the aspiring young footballers through their paces in Antigua

More than fifty aspiring young footballers will be coached in the beautiful game by Kevin Ball and Carlton Fairweather from Sunderland AFC’s Academy of Light – two of the best coaches in the English Premier League’s Academy Structure – in St. John’s on December 8th and 9th.

Sunderland AFC Academy of Light Coach and former Wimbledon player, Carlton Fairweather, spoke exclusively to about the importance of initiatives such as the Digicel football clinics and what the key qualities he is looking for in the young footballers are:

We’re really looking forward to coming to Antigua this weekend. Obviously we’re always looking for talent wherever we go, but a great attitude and enthusiasm are also part and parcel of becoming a success. Kevin Ball and I are out there to coach and you never what you’re going find – you might be surprised – it’s always a possibility.

Over the two days we will be coaching in mainly technique work – such as possession and passing – in order to test the lads and see how they are technically as well as tactically.


Aside from ability, enthusiasm is key. As long as you have that and a willingness to work hard and learn, you have something you can work with and that’s the most important thing. Without these qualities, it’s hard to coach even the most talented of players. I can’t reiterate enough the importance of enthusiasm.

Clinics such as these are really important for the development of the sport at grass roots levels. Obviously, it is also especially important for the lads. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to be exposed to different styles of coaching and different techniques and tactics. They will see how in England for example we take a different approach compared to say, the Caribbean or South America and some kids will thrive on that. It also give them the opportunity to see what the potential is in becoming a successful footballer – and it’s an incentive for them to work hard and do well.

The standard of football in the region here is pretty good and improving all the time. People talk about the African teams someday soon winning a World Cup and the same could be said of the Caribbean teams. With players going abroad and getting international experience at a club level, this can only improve the national teams’ performances. The Caribbean football structure does need some improving which is why the better players look to play in Europe. Ideally however, that money would filter back to the Caribbean so that the associations get the benefit and build on that.

There’s definitely a lot of talent here with the likes of Dwight York and Kenwyne Jones who played for Sunderland and now plays for Stoke. If these guys come back and work with the clubs and the associations and bring back their experience, this will improve the standards in the region.

In terms of giving advice to young footballers, I say work hard. At Sunderland’s Academy of Light, we talk about enthusiasm and a willingness to improve and work hard. Coaches can tell these kids what to do and how to do it – but it’s up to the boys to work hard, continue to push themselves and improve.”

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