Digicel officially kicked off the seventh and final leg of the Digicel Kick Start Clinics 2011 with a press conference at Barbican Beach in Kingston, Jamaica. In attendance were Head Coach and England and Liverpool football legend, John Barnes, and the manager of the Jamaican National team, Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore, as well as representatives from the Jamaican Football Federation and Inter-Secondary School Sports Association (ISSA).

The 35 aspiring young footballers who will battle it out for a place in the Digicel Academy. For more information, visit

The 35 aspiring young footballers, selected from the ISSA competition, will be put through their paces by John Barnes, assisted by Tappa Whitmore, during the two-day clinic, in the hope of securing a place in the Digicel Academy, which will take place in Trinidad from Tuesday 1st to Monday 7th November.

The Digicel Academy will see the ‘crême de la crême’ of young football talent from the eight Digicel Kick Start Clinic countries come together to attend a week-long elite training camp, under the leadership and guidance of top Barclays Premier League coaches from Sunderland’s “Academy of Light”, Kevin Ball and Carlton Fairweather, and assisted by John Barnes.

International Development Director for Sunderland AFC, Niall Quinn, commented; “Football is a universal language and it has the power to change lives. Community, family and football development are key values held by our football club and, working in partnership with Digicel, offering our coaching expertise and knowledge means that we can share the ethos of Sunderland with a wider audience.”

(From left to right) Digicel Kick Start Clinics Head Coach and England and Liverpool football legend, John Barnes, Digicel Jamaica Sponsorship Manager, Paula Pinnock-MacLeod, ISSA Representative, George Forbes and General Secretary of the Jamaican Football Association, Horace Reid, at today’s press conference held in Kingston, Jamaica.

The young players attending the Digicel Academy will have the opportunity to work on their skills and technical ability, as well as learning vital life skills such as personal discipline, teamwork and dedication. In addition, coaches from elite United States prep schools will also travel to the Academy, scouting for boys who may fit the requirements to benefit from educational football scholarships to study in the US.

During the press conference, John Barnes spoke to the young footballers about what was expected of them, saying; “As a Jamaican footballer, I already know about the remarkable physical aptitude for football that young Jamaicans possess. What I want to see during the clinic is discipline, punctuality, respect for your teammates and a spirit of togetherness. Allied with your natural prowess, the right mentality – a football mentality – will make you great.”

The General Secretary of the Jamaican Football Association, Horace Reid, expressed his full support for the Kick Start Clinics initiative and his gratitude for Digicel’s commitment to community development, noting that; “It is easy to support those competing in the national stadiums, or at international championships, cheered on by crowds and recognised by the world. What is difficult is investing at the grassroots level but Digicel does it tirelessly and commendably.”

Action from the first day of the Digicel Kick Start Clinics in Jamaica. Sunderland AFC has partnered with Digicel in the hugely successful Kick Start Clinics since 2008, welcoming youngsters from the project to its training headquarters as well as sending senior coaching staff to the Caribbean to lead clinics.

Mr Reid likened the efforts of the Digicel Kick Start Clinics to “finding little rocks and making them diamonds”, and encouraged the boys present to emulate Jamaican footballer, Omar Holness, who was selected for the Digicel Academy in Sunderland in 2009 and went on to become Captain of the Under-17s Jamaica National Football Team.

This final leg of the 2011 Digicel Kick Start Clinics will run today and tomorrow, at the end of which the four best players will be chosen by John Barnes to take up places at the Digicel Academy.

The Digicel Kick Start Clinics officially began on Sunday 18th September in Haiti, and have travelled on to Panama, New York, St Kitts & Nevis, Grenada, Suriname and Jamaica. The clinics will now culminate in a week long training session at the Digicel Academy in Trinidad from Tuesday November 1st to Monday November 7th.


LocationDigicel Kick Start Clinic Dates
HaitiSunday 18th – Thursday 22nd September
PanamaFriday 23rd – Monday 26th September
New YorkTuesday 27th – Friday 30th September
St. Kitts & NevisSaturday 1st – Tuesday 4th October
GrenadaWednesday 5th – Saturday 8th October
SurinameSunday 9th – Wednesday 12th October
JamaicaThursday 13th – Sunday 16th October
TrinidadDigicel Academy – Tuesday 1st – Monday 7th November


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