Edwards Sr urges coaches to focus on development

The Villa Lions Soccer Academy hosts one of the country’s top youth development programmes on an annual basis.
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By Neto Baptiste

Coaches employed by the government must make better use of the time afforded them during the summer Christmas holidays to host development sessions within their respective communities.

This is according to former national athlete and coach, Veron Edwards Sr, who said that when he worked in the system, it was the norm to host such sessions in his community.

“I used to be in the schools system and I know that every summer myself, Cajawawa [George Warner] and all the coaches from Grays Farm I used to get them together and we used to have 100 and something children in King George. I think Micah Samuel used to do that at one point as well and sometimes we would go to Bolans and have 300 or 50 players. The work has to be done, the players are there. We have to find a way to utilise what we have and what you need is a structure,” he said.

The former Antigua and Leeward Islands batsman said community clubs and teams must also get involved, referencing the successful Liberta Sports Club as a prime example to follow.

“I believe it is no coincidence that Liberta is doing so well because Liberta seems to have a structure as to how young players will come through and you can see something like a development and I don’t know what I can say about Flipper [Kenneth Benjamin]. Flipper is a special person,” the former athlete said. 

Also a former national footballer, Edwards encouraged players to make better use of the facilities provided to them if they expect to see personal growth.

“I think we have to be capable of utilising the things like the nets at the Sir Viv stadium and the things at Stanford [Coolidge Cricket Ground]. We could even make Jojo and Neto scout around at these venues because that is what used to happen when I was growing up where you could hear somebody say, ‘look, I drove up Bethesda yesterday and I saw a boy [playing cricket] and I stopped there’, and then inquiries start as to who is this guy,” he said.

Edwards has played both cricket and football for Antigua and Barbuda and was coach of the successful Empire football team during their four-peat championship run spanning 1997 to 2001.

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