Eagles Football Academy set to soar

Sports

Eagles Football Academy set to soar

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

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Less than two months after they began, the Eagles Football Academy (EFA) has seen their numbers soar from 14 players to 37 as they give boys and girls from Mountain View Avenue and its environs an opportunity to play the game at Excelsior High school on a Saturday morning.

The academy which has a cadre of experienced coaches, is being led by veteran Omar Stanley, who has coached at all levels of football in Jamaica, except the premier league.

Stanley says that inspiration for the formation of the academy came from what he and the rest of the coaching staff saw as a void that needed to be filled.

“We thought the region that we operate in needed an academy, for kids to come through on Saturday and express themselves through football in an organized setting. We looked at the coaches in the group and thought that this was a no-brainer, so we got started.

“We actually planned to begin earlier in the year but that got derailed by COVID-19,” he said.

Stanley was quick to assure that more training days would be added, once the threat of the COVID-19 virus has been eradicated.

The Eagles Football Academy welcomes children from all over, even though it is located at Mountain View Avenue.

“It is not limited. We think community grassroots football is what is lacking across the island, so we are just doing our small part to fix the problem. We believe that if this problem is addressed, we can raise the standard of football in the country.

“With sponsors onboard in the near future, we certainly think our academy will be helping to rectify the situation.”

Though not free for the future Reggae Boyz and Reggae Girlz, Stanley says that the cost charged each Saturday makes Eagles, the cheapest academy in town.

“We charge a minimum of $3,500 per month to help offset expenses for equipment and give the coaches a small stipend.”

Stanley is pleased with the growth of the numbers at the academy so far as the marketing has been limited to their Instagram page and videos posted on YouTube, as well as word-of-mouth. They have set a target of 100 players by the end of February 2021, with at least 25 per cent of the players being female. Currently there are two girls numbered among the 37 at the academy.

Stanley has the responsibility of chief coordinator and Under-13 coach. He shares the Under-13 role with former Kingston College Manning Cup player, Victor Samuels, who is also his assistant for the Under-14 team at Excelsior High.

Jahmiah Pettigrew, who is a former assistant Manning Cup coach at Excelsior High and now head coach at Dunoon High, is in charge of the Under-16 programme, while Everdean Scarlett who is the head coach of the Cavalier FC Women's team, is in charge of the Under-10 and the female programmes at EA and he is assisted by Collin Wilson.

Delroy Garrison, aka “Nyha” who works with National Premier League teams Arnett Gardens and Cavalier FC, is the resident physiotherapist and the sanitization and safety officer. Malik Stanley is the head of administration at EFA.

June Simpson, who is a former Reggae Girl and long-time coach at Vaz Prep school, is expected to join the coaching staff in January, with special interest in the girls' programme.

Based on the current protocols as it relates to COVID-19, the number of coaches is expected to grow by five in the near future, in order to meet the requirement of one coach per 10 players.


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