DIRECTV North East Stars are going international in their search for support for their new youth academy. C.E.O. Brent Sancho and Operations Director Kevin Harrison met with members of the Holland/Belgium 2018 World Cup Bid team to discuss ways that the European countries could assist with youth development in Sangre Grande.
"If you want to learn how to develop young talent, there is no better place to go than Holland" said Sancho, who represented the T&T legends team in an exibition match against Dutch Masters Pierre van Hooijdonk, Aron Winter, Rob Witschge and former Belgian players Gilles De Bilde and Gert Verheyen.
"We know that the bid team are keen to build a legacy with their world cup bid, and their focus is very much on youth development. North East Stars launch their youth academy on Saturday, so the timing seemed perfect to ask for the input of the Dutch and Belgian representatives."
Sancho is familiar with the advanced training methods used in Holland through his time spent working with former T&T head coach Leo Beenhaker. "Leo is the best coach I have worked with and his ideas on youth coaching always stayed with me.
We hope to bring some of these techniques to the youngsters in Sangre Grande. We have been promised training manuals and input from Ajax. We will look to forge a strong relationship and hopefully develop closer links"
The North East pair had talks with the Bid team last Wednesday and Thursday and hope to obtain a commitment from the Europeans to assist in developing an active partnership. "Its not about money" said Harrison.
"The Dutch and Belgians have so much knowledge and experience that will benefit youngsters in T&T. We discussed building links with Belgian clubs to develop a route to the English Premier League" Belgium is reknowned as a staging post for non European Community players to reach English clubs.
"Arsenal will often sign young players who are not eligible for English work permits. The players will spend two years in Belgium developing their talents and they will then be eligible for E.U. status and able to play in England. "We wish to explore this route for our talented young players"
Sancho pointed out that nothing formal had been agreed. "These are just exploritory talks and we are in discussions with other clubs to gain international assistance for youth projects. Whatever the outcome, its been great to spend time with legends such as Ruud and the guys."
Harrison agreed " We had a pleasant dinner with the players, and also gave them a real Trini nite out at 51 degrees. The niteclub really pushed the boat out and gave the players a superb night.
They are a great group of guys and we hope we have shown them enough of Trinidad to tempt them to come back. Obviously, as an Englishman, I would love to see us host 2018, but should we fail, I will be delighted if Holland and Belgium win the race."