Talent scouts from the T&T Football Association (TTFA) will pay a keen interest in this year’s rebranded Republic Cup National Youth Football League, from August 4 to September 1.
The competition was officially launched at Republic Bank’s head office, Park Street, Port-of-Spain, yesterday and several changes were made to the tournament which was formerly known at the Republic Youth Cup.
The changes were made in a collaboration with the TTFA.
Two of the three divisions, the U-13 and U-15, will play in an 11-a-side format on a standard international fields, as mandated by the TTFA.
The U-11 division will be played on a half sized field with smaller goal posts, while girls will be allowed to play along with the boys in the U-11 and U-13 divisions.
The TTFA has indicated that every child in the competition will become a registered footballer under the local governing body, thus giving all participants an advantage of being recognised and an opportunity to make it through the ranks in national youth teams.
Speaking at the launch, TTFA media officer Shaun Fuentes reminded the audience of the next month’s inaugural Concacaf Under-15 Championship in the Cayman Islands.
“The TTFA will have coaches visit some of the matches as part of the talent search. Indeed, a demonstration of our seriousness in youth football has already been shown by an early visit, in his first assignment since returning to out shores, by Leo Beenhakker and head coach Stephen Hart to the U-15 national team training sessions, in Woodford Lodge, Chaguanas, on Tuesday.
Currently, as we are here, they are involved in a meeting with technical director Anton Corneal on the way forward,” said Fuentes.
Organisers are hoping to attract 90 teams from six zones, with Tobago expected to produce 18 teams.
The winner in each of the three divisions will walk away with $5,000 cash, medals and a trophy. The runner-up and the third placed finisher will receive $3,000 and $2,000, respectively, along with medals.
Group marketing and communications manager at Republic Bank, Anna-Maria Garcia Brooks, said the rebranded competition, which has previously attracted over 2,000 young footballers annually, will work alongside All Sport Promotions and the TTFA “to take our involvement in football to the next level and to align it even closer to the needs of the sport and the plans for the governing body in T&T.”
Garcia-Brooks said the league will eventually be a natural feeder into the more established National Super League and TT Pro League competitions.
The first weekend of competition will be held on August 3-4, and will continue every weekend at different zones until the final day on September 1. Registration, which is $500 per team will close on August 2.
Republic Bank Cup goes national.
By Ian Prescott (Express).
The annual Republic Bank Cup has evolved continually over a 17-year existence.
The annual youth football competition has now been re-branded as the Republic Bank National Youth Football League and will for the first time be an 11-a-side football competition. The inaugural competition was launched in 1996 as a five-a-side competition, the Republic Youth Cup, before later converting into the seven-a-side version that ran up to 2012.
Yesterday, the 11-a-side version, the Republic Bank National Youth Football League, was launched at Republic Bank’s Park Street headquarters. The competition is a collaboration between sponsors Republic Bank, organisers All Sport Promotions and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).
Representing All Sport Promotions, Anthony Harford announced that the change in format was as a result of a TTFA directive that they convert to the 11-a-side version of football. The idea is to allow young footballers to seamlessly fit into proper and structured football, and thus aid the development of T&T football.
Harford expects 90 teams to compete in the 2013 competition, 18 of which will be from Tobago. The tournament will be organised in the under-11, under-13 and under-15 age groups. There will be no specific competition for girls. However, in keeping with international FIFA rules, teams can field both male and female players in the lower divisions, under-11 and under-13.
It was announced that close to $500,000 in sponsorship was being pumped into the competition by Republic Bank, and welcoming the change of format was Anna-Maria Garcia-Brooks, Republic Bank’s general manager, group marketing and communication.
“Today we are proud, through our collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association and All Sports Promotions, the first Republic Cup National Youth Football League which is part of the TTFA’s development programme for the sport, and which will run from August 3 to September 1,” stated Garcia-Brooks, a self-confessed soccer mom.
“I would like to acknowledge the TTFA for going back to basics and placing greater emphasis on the development aspect of this great sport; for paying greater attention to the younger age-group footballers, ensuring that they are provided with opportunities which are similar or better than those provided for the older teenagers and indeed adults players.”
“Pretty much every young man who has gone on to represent our national team went through the Republic Cup,” boasted Harford, who remembers current Stoke City striker Kenwyne Jones representing Point Fortin Civic Centre in his early days.
Harford added that up to seven members of the 2006 Trinidad and Tobago World Cup team had participated in the Republic Cup at some point.
“What we will have over the next couple of weeks is 15 days of sustained football ending on September 1,” Harford said.