The Scouts Were Very Pleased: Gomes Says Close To 40 Offers Made Since College Combine

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By Neto Baptiste

Close to 40 players have been offered scholarship opportunities coming out of the recent college combine hosted by the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) here at its technical center located on the Sir Sydney Walling Highway.

This is according to the body’s technical director, Sowerby Gomes, who said the number of offers could increase in coming days.

“The scouts and coaches who were there on the ground and those who were viewing, were very pleased with what they saw and as result, we have over 36 boys and girls who are of interest right now so what we are going to be doing at the ABFA, we are looking to call the students of these parents for a meeting very shortly. We are just tightening up some details with the various schools until we get the full package deals and then we will have a meeting with the parents,” he said. 

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Young goalkeepers are put through their paces during the recent college combine.

Gomes however highlighted that any offers coming out of the combine will not be full ride.

“We laid this out from the onset that these scholarships these students are getting are not full scholarships but however, some schools are giving much more than others and depending on the level of the school, whether it is a division one or division two, junior college or an academy, dictates the weight and coast the parents would have to pay and based on what the school is giving also determines how that particular parent would be able to foot the balance of the bill but there are no full rides on none of these scholarships here,” the former defender said. 

The FA, late last month, announced it would host over 30 coaches and scouts from a number of US colleges and teams for a second combine following an initial installment in 2021.

Gomes said the numbers this year exceeded the expectations of the FA’s technical staff.

“We had an increased number in terms of applicants here on island where we had 198 applicants from Antigua and we actually had to bring the screening down to 140 and then further to 110 so you see that the interest is there and it is building because young athletes are looking for a pathway whether it be through academic pursuit, whether it be through their athletic ability or whether it be that they are looking for these options in terms of getting a semipro contract so this is what this combine was all about, to create that opportunity,” he said. 

The combine also hosted coaches from a number of professional clubs to include Chicago Fire.

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