By Neto Baptiste
A 21-member squad Wings football team is set to depart Antigua on July 23 for St Lucia, where they will compete in the first Free Kick Youth Cup slated for July 26 to August 1 at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.
The event, which replaces the annual Free Kick combine, will offer opportunities for players as, according to head of the Antigua arm of the Free Kick initiative, Barbara Coates, a number of scouts will be on hand while those players who impress will be offered a two-week stint in Spain with a professional club.
“There are going to be scouts looking at them as well. More important too is that even the coaches will get an opportunity to walk away with something because, for the best coach and selected players who impress the scouts, there is going to be an opportunity to go off to Valencia in Spain with Valencia FC so they could have a week or two of a camp there,” she said.
Twenty teams are expected to take part in the tournament but will be placed in five groups of four. Coates said she is looking forward to the event and the valuable experience it will offer the young players.
“Personally, for us at Wings, we haven’t done any tours since 2012 … so this event, there is no price tag that can be put on it. The experience that the young players are going to get when they play against three other clubs, that’s going to play in our zone, but they will also get an opportunity to play against clubs from the US and England. There are also two teams from Ghana and Gambia that are coming in and there is supposed to be a team from Mexico. Of course, there will be teams from the Caribbean and so they are going to get the opportunity as though they were playing for a national team,” she said.
The team is expected to depart for St Lucia on Saturday.
Full squad: Neswon Knowles, Lan Rameshwar Ramgobin, Leon O’Garro, Tajyei Browne, Jaeden Browne, Craig Greenaway, Y’Mahzie Lewis, Ijalon Joseph, Joseph Saeigh, Somer Aboueita, Jayden Browne, Jahte Sheppard, Christopher Douglas, Ethan Walsh, Ethan Thomas, Malachi Jaheem Francis, Khael Williams, Dennison Steven, Daryl Massicot, Seth Phillip, and Raekwon Ralph.
The team will be coached by Karanja Mack and Rolston Phoenix. Coates will travel as manager.