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Jamaica Sports 2004
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- Saturday 11, December-2004 by Barry Alleyne
The region’s athletes and academics came together as one at the National Stadium yesterday, as the first ever College Soccer Showcase kicked off in Barbados.
Not many fans were in the stands, but the Waterford venue was a hive of activity, as coaches from universities across the United States settled down for what is expected to be three days of intense analysis.
The event, organised by the Barbados Football Association (BFA) in conjunction with the US-based Harvard Sports Management and local company Sporting Zones, has brought coaches from 17 universities in the United States to scout young talent.
Harvard Sports Management Group Inc. is a New York-based sports management company that has 16 offices across America, and is actively involved with Divisions 1, 2 and 3 schools under the aegis of the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA).
When it’s all over, regional players, once they are eligible academically, could gain full four-year bachelorial scholarships from as early as next September.
Athletes eligible for the scholarships must have at least a Grade C average (70-75 per cent), and reach a score of 1 050 on the required Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), an entry requirement for the colleges.
The BFA has hand-picked more than 25 youngsters for the showcase, and divided them into two teams on show. In addition, teams from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, St Martin and Virginia Castle, a US high school, will play one another over two days of round-robin action, which started with three matches yesterday.
Former Barbados senior national coach Kenville Layne (left) taking one of the Barbados teams through a warm-up.Some of the biggest names in NCAA soccer are in Barbados for the showcase, headed by University of Richmond coach Jeff Gettler, considered to be one of the best recruiters of talent for Division 1 schools in the US.
The Richmond Spiders have a rich tradition in NCAA soccer, and since 1995 three players from the school have been drafted to play in the US’ pro league, Major League Soccer (MLS).
“This is a prefect opportunity for coaches for a number of schools in the US not just to see what talent Barbados has to offer, but other countries in the Caribbean.
“I’m sure after they see what we have intellectually and talentwise they can make recommendations to other schools,” BFA president Ronald Jones said as he welcomed the coaches yesterday.
“There is a lot of talent all over the Caribbean, and we hope this is just the start to a number of young, talented players getting the opportunity to attend US colleges through their hard work on the field and in the classroom,” he added.
“Over the next few days, I hope this talent blossoms and bears fruit.”
The showcase continues at the stadium today with matches from 1 p.m., but more importantly, the US coaches will be at the gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex for a special symposium for athletes and their parents. Five NCAA coaches will talk about what is involved in getting scholarships for student athletes from the Caribbean.
Tomorrow, the showcase concludes with a match between two All-Star select teams at the National Stadium at 8 a.m.
THE US COACHES:
Following is a list of the coaches and their universities who are in Barbados for the inaugural College Soccer Showcase. Tabulated under College, Coach and State in the United States.
Catawba College Craig Turnbull North Carolina
Williams College Mike Russo Massachusetts
University of Richmond Jeff Gettler Virginia
Brandens University Covore Massachusetts
University of Rhode Island John Primiano Rhode Island
Fairfield University Carl Reis Connecticut
Bradly University Carl Ruzzo Illinois
Wheaton College Matt Cushing Massachusetts
Newfaltz State Stuart Rolinson New York
Birghamston State Paul Morris New York
Quinnipiac University Steve Carrington Connecticut
Rutgers University Rob Johnson New Jersey
Ferrum College Mat Fairclough Virginia
Ridee College Russ Fager New Jersey
Gettysburg College Devin Oneill Pennsylvania
Harvard University John Kerr Massachusetts
Compliments of the Nation
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