Six players from Antigua & Barbuda will participate in the third consecutive MLS sponsored Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Combine, which will be held across three countries instead of one central venue as in previous years.
The venues are St Kitts (December 13- 16), Curacao (December 17-20), and Martinique (January 1-4). A total of 24 players have been invited to each venue, representing a marked increase in the number of elite players from the Caribbean who will vie to be among those selected to attend the MLS Combine from January 8-13 in South Florida.
The local players are Novelle Francis Jr, Tevaughn “Peter Redz” Harriette, Eugine Kirwan, Shavorn Phillip, Jamoy Stevens and Elvis “Chung” Thomas. In addition to Antigua, St Kitts will host players from Anguilla; BVI; Cayman Islands; Jamaica; Montserrat; Puerto Rico; Turks and Caicos; and USVI.
Curacao will host Aruba; Bahamas; Bermuda; Bonaire; Dominican Republic; Guyana; Haiti; Suriname; and Trinidad and Tobago, while Martinique will host Barbados; Dominica; French Guiana; Grenada; Guadeloupe; St Maarten; St Martin; St Vincent; and St Lucia.
President of the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) Everton “Batow” Gonsalves congratulated the players who were selected and urged them to give their best.
“These players stood out among their local peers, and we are pleased that they will represent Antigua & Barbuda. It is now up to them to go to St Kitts and perform so that we are all proud of their efforts and, ultimately, they are among those chosen for the next leg in Florida,” Gonsalves said.
CFU President Gordon “Banks” Derrick said the main reason for negotiating to decentralise the initiative was to increase participation and opportunity.
“We are grateful to our partners at the MLS who were receptive to our proposal to hold the Combine in more than one venue. This will allow a greater number of Caribbean players to attend and to have the chance to gain selection to the South Florida Combine where they will be seen by pro scouts,” Derrick said.
Under the expanded arrangement, member associations are responsible for airfare while the MLS will absorb all other costs.