Parents, local coaches say Atlanta camp a success –
THE SIX youth players of the Queen’s Park Football Academy, who will be going to Atlanta to train with Atlanta United FC, in January, have been identified as Addae Paponette, Logan Maingot, Luke Correia, Michael Chavez, Armani Rowe and Michael-Peter Hadad.
The six young footballers’ names were revealed yesterday after the end of a five-day training session at the Queen’s Park Football Academy, St Mary’s grounds, in St Clair. The five-day camp started last Saturday and featured Atlanta United FC coaches, who came to Trinidad to exchange ideas and perspectives in coaching and to develop young players.
The six youths were selected, out of a pool of 250 Queen’s Park Academy trainees, and are expected to leave for Atlanta in the second week of January.
As the training event came to a close, one parent, Lyle Beckles, looked from the sidelines as his son, six-year-old Luca, bobbed and weaved through other children with a football at his feet. Although he was at the far end of the field, the proud father could point the boy out as he practised during the training session.
As he looked on with a smile on his face, he lauded the organisers of the camp and the Atlanta United Academy coaches led by head coach Matt Lawrey, for a successful five-day training camp.
“Any opportunity I get to expose him (Luca) and let him play more football I get on board,” Beckles said. “What I have heard from the coaches and what I have seen has been great. The academy is very structured and because of this camp the kids and the coaches get exposed to even more international aspects of football. I think it was a great camp.”
Beckles said he has entered his son in every camp that Atlanta United hosted since they started three years ago. He said Luca had an interest in football since he was three and because of his love for football, he encouraged him to practise. Beckles said, thanks to the encouragement and training from camps like the Atlanta United training camp, not only is his son’s skills developing, but his love for the game as well.
“Now he is taking it upon himself to go out and play football,” Beckles said, “Before I would have to call him and encourage him to come outside and play. Now he would call me to play. He really likes it.”
North East Stars FC defender, Yohance Marshall, who has been coaching with Queen’s Park Football Academy for the past four months, said yesterday that the difference in perspective in the game of football that Atlanta United coaches brought helped in the local coaches’ and youngsters’ development.
“With anything, once you get a different perspective you learn more,” Marshall said. “We have our model already, but when these coaches come in we see things from a different light, and it is the same for them. They might even learn from us as well. It is always a give and take when it comes to football. You are always learning, and football is always evolving.”
Marshall said in order to keep the children’s attention the coaches would make each training session fun and interesting. He said coaches try to keep the children’s brains working, and keep them active. While Newsday was at the training camp, one of the games the coaches had the young footballers involved in was “Builders versus Wreckers”.
“One team would be the builders and the other would be wreckers,” Marshall explained. The objective is for one team to knock down the cones (on the field) while the other team picks them up.”
Older children practised with ball control in the air, which culminated in a face-off to see who could control the ball the best.
Marshall said training camps such as the Atlanta United camp are part of a foundation of training that could ensure the development of future local football stars.
“We have to tackle the future of football from a developmental level. We have to teach them proper technique. We have to start over,” he said. “T&T is known for our style and our flair. But there is a difference when we go into different environments why some of our players don’t excel. We have one part of it but we don’t have the other so, now we have to merge the two, so they would know how to pass the ball and how to trap the ball etc. The flair will come naturally, and they would be able to do their tricks and flicks.”