The local trio of Taryk Sampson, Yafeu Rougier and Anthony Samuel was chosen by former England international and Liverpool legend John Barnes to join their Concacaf peers at a week-long Digicel Academy in October.
Despite bad weather, the sixth leg of this year’s Digicel Kick Start Clinics programme went ahead at the St Joseph Convent Ground, Federation Park, St Clair on Saturday and Sunday in what was described by Barnes, as “a display of some of the best talent to date.”
The trio will join their peers from across eight other countries at the camp in Barbados, where they will be put through their paces by coaches from European Champions League winners’ Chelsea FC in Barbados and experience life as a professional footballer.
Rougier, the nephew of former Soca Warriors captain, Anthony Rougier, spoke about how it felt to be chosen. He said: “I am very excited and I am very much looking forward to meeting new people and learning from the Chelsea coaches—as well as to traveling to Barbados for the first time.
I have been playing football for the past eight years, and I play for W Connection in the Youth T&T Pro League in which I was last year’s top scorer.
“The Digicel Clinic with Barnes was a great experience as his first-hand coaching provided me with useful information, explanations and tips on how to better my game. I am looking forward to Barbados as I expect to get even more useful tips on mastering my play.”
Barnes said he was impressed with this year’s display of talent. “I was really surprised. In fact—it’s been the best so far of this year’s programme.
To be clear, the quality is always high here, but this year I found the quantity of excellent players has increased and I could easily have chosen 12 or 13 boys—which is fantastic and speaks to the ongoing development of football in the country.
I was so impressed that I have recommended a number of names to a US scout working here on the ground as potential drafts to soccer scholarships.”
The clinics continue through to St Lucia, St Kitts/Nevis before coming to a finish this weekend in Jamaica as Barnes searches for the region’s top footballing talent.