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Bajans impress US coaches
- Wednesday 07, January-2004
by Ezra Stuart
THE natural athleticism and technical ability of a number of young Barbadian footballers from the newly formed Barbados Soccer Academy could help land them scholarships in the United States.
That assessment has been made by three coaches from two leading universities in the United States who are now in Barbados scouting for talented footballers.
Dean Foti, head coach at Syracuse University, Tom Lang, soccer boss at Southern Connecticut State University and his assistant, Adam Cohen, have been invited to Barbados by head of the academy, Jack Bovell.
“We are always looking for good students and good soccer players to participate in our university soccer programme,” Foti said as he watched the players in action at the National Stadium on Monday night in a match against local Division 1 side, Ajax Wales.
“We are impressed at the level of play but to participate at the university level in the United States, one has to look at the other little hurdles that you have to get over,” the Syracuse chief coach said.
“You need not only to be a good player but also to have the proper qualifications to be admitted academically as well as the inclination to go to America and study,” added Foti.
“They are potentially some kids here who can play in the university states but we need to see kids in different environments and playing against different levels of opponents,” Foti said.
Lang said he brought along his assistant Cohen because of the large number of players they would be assessing.
“I think it’s been a good standard so far. The players have a good amount of technical ability but they are still young and developing,” he said.
“Some of these players are maybe a few years away from fulfilling their potential but that’s always something that you are looking for,” Lang said.
“We evaluate players here against each other but we also have to evaluate these players compared to other players that we may be looking at from Europe, South America, the United States or even Africa,” he added.
“I think there is a good blend of athleticism, along with technical ability in terms of dealing with the ball. I think if I had to make a comment in terms of some of my observations, I think some of the defending could be better.
“In general, I think the marking sometimes tends to be a bit loose but those are things which are correctable and those are things that you can work with players on.”
Cohen said they were searching for “players who are not only very good on the field but very good in their classroom as well”.
“The players here are very creative, very tactical and very passionate. If they continue to put the kind of work into it, I think they could play in the United States,” Cohen said.
“I think it will come down to how they would be able to adapt in a college environment where they are playing every single day and going to school every single day and playing very competitive, intense physical matches on a regular basis while trying to compete for a national championship,” Cohen remarked.
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