With the 2012 Digicel Academy off to a fantastic start, the boys shared their thoughts on how the clinics have been going for them so far and what they expect to gain from the training sessions hosted by European and FA cup champions and English Premier League football club, Chelsea F.C.

Digicelfootball spoke to two boys at the Academy – Yafeu Rougier from Trinidad and Tobago and Sorencio Juliaans from Suriname – who shared their experience as aspiring young footballers in their second year at the Digicel Academy. Yafeu and Sorencio both participated in the Digicel Academy last year and said that their experience at this year’s Academy has been rewarding and beneficial to their game.

Yafeu Rougier – Digicel Kick Start Academy participant representing Trinidad and Tobago

The 2012 Digicel Academy marks the first of a three year partnership with Chelsea FC. Three International Development Coaches, David Monk, Robert Udberg and Olly Woodall, have brought their technical skills and talents to the island of Barbados where boys from the Caribbean, Central America and the Diaspora participate in the Digicel Academy – showing their skill, while, at the same time, having fun and making new friends.

Sixteen year-old Yafeu Rougier said that he is having a great learning experience at the Academy, as the training sessions are more intense the second time around because his own expectations are greater.

Since his last time at the Academy, Yafeu says he has made great strides towards improving his game by using the techniques and tips he gained last year – and being at this year’s Academy – his goal is no different.

He explains; “Being at the Academy last year was so good because I was able to learn new techniques and improve my game. When I was selected again for this year’s Digicel Academy, I had no doubt that I would get the same high level of training and guidance.

I plan to share what I have learned from the Academy with my teammates back home in Trinidad and Tobago. For those footballers who want to have a successful football career, my advice for them is to work hard and when you are given an opportunity such as attending the Digicel Academy – you should grasp it with both hands and make the best of it.”

Sorencio Juliaans – Digicel Kick Start Academy participant representing Suriname

The Academy seeks to build on the talent that is already present in many of the boys – helping them hone these skills for future success. For Sorencio Juliaans, a 15 year-old footballer from Suriname, being a part of the Academy gives him the chance to play football and, at the same time, build his confidence and appreciation for the game. For him, he enjoys the high level of training he receives and he has learned that it is simply not just talent that will make you a successful footballer; “Applying the strategies I’m learning to move the team forward is just as important as individual success.

“I play for a first division football team back home in Suriname and being here at the Academy is a great experience for me because I am getting training from some of the best coaches in the world. I like the way the coaches from Chelsea F.C. give detailed advice during the sessions and guide me through every play and technique.”

He continues; “The most important thing I have learned from the Chelsea coaches is that, to be the best footballer, you have to work hard and not give up. You have to love playing football and that passion will motivate you to continue to work on your game even after the Academy is over. They also encourage you to never forget that getting an education is just as important in football as learning how to pass the ball, so I try to give my best both on and off the field.

Chelsea International Football Development Officer and Academy Coach, David Monk, gave his thoughts on how important it is for players to continue training and developing their game even after they leave the Academy.

Experiencing a different footballing culture and style is a massive benefit because playing and interacting with players from different countries teaches them new techniques that they can take back home. By participating in the Digicel Kick Start Academy, they appreciate the importance of being mature, responsible and independent young men and footballers. Learning to interact with players and coaches who do not necessarily speak their language or share their culture helps them to develop the skills that will serve them both on the pitch and off the pitch and will benefit them in the long term.”

The Digicel Academy is a week-long elite training camp which takes place in Barbados from October 29th to November 3rd under the leadership of coaches from Europe and FA Cup champions Chelsea F.C. Since 2004, Digicel has been involved in a wide range of football initiatives designed to support the development of football in the Caribbean and Central America.

In addition to the Digicel Kick Start Clinics, Digicel sponsors 17 National Football Associations and Federations as well as the two main regional football qualification tournaments in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) region.

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