T&T’s Akeem Garcia was awarded the Most Improved Player at the closing ceremony of the 2011 Digicel Kick Start Academy, held at the VIP Room of the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, on Sunday.
Garcia was among the 36 talented young athletes who were selected from the Caribbean, Panama and the United States to take part in the week-long training camp, headed by coaches of English Premier League Club Sunderland AFC, Kevin Ball and Carlton Fairweather.
English football legend John Barnes was in T&T during the academy to offer the players some of his professional expertise. At the closing ceremony, each participant was presented with a medal and Certificate of Participation by the two coaches, who praised the young football proteges.
Ball said: “I saw evidence of what you learnt during the training come out in the games you played.” Fairweather urged them to “take what you’ve learnt back to your respective countries, and clubs and continue the good work.”
The youngest player at the Digicel Kick Start Academy, 13-year-old Daniel Spronk of Antigua said of his experiences: “I’ve learnt a lot of different skills from the coaches and the hard work it takes to become a footballer.”
He added that he hopes to keep in touch with his new friends through Facebook. Digicel has sponsored the regional academy for the fourth year, and for the first time in T&T.