Generation Next seeks to identify young talents

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Generation Next soccer academy, for the next three days, will host its first ID Programme.

Former national and Empire striker, Conrad “Boast” Whyte, who is a certified coach in the USA, is set to work with a number of young players during the three-day affair in hopes of identifying the elite for possible opportunities in the United States.

One of the principals at Generation Next, Ricky Santos, who revealed that the three-day event started yesterday, added that the focus is on providing an avenue for young players who desire to attend school and play in the USA.

“Conrad ‘Boast’ Whyte is the assistant coach at Northeastern University in Boston, which is a division one football university. He is presently in Antigua and will be conducting what we call a prospective ID clinic where he would look to see what talents that he could direct to universities for scholarships for the kids, so it’s not necessarily at Northeastern alone, but because of his connections, he may be able to get kids into division two, division three or even division one teams other than his university,” Santos said.

The three-day affair is being held at the St Anthony Secondary School and will run from 3-5 pm daily.

Following on the heels of their new initiative, Santos said the academy will host its Youth Football League

“That will be starting in the middle of next month, and once again, we are in the under-7s, under-9s, under-11s, under-13s and under-16s and this will be played on a home and away basis so it would be operated like a league where each team will play the other twice on their home field,” Santos said.

“We have received the endorsements of the Antigua & Barbuda Football Association (ABFA) and the Ministry of Sports and each team in each division will be awarded the Prime Minister’s Trophy and it has been endorsed by the prime minister,” he added.

Generation Next, Santos went on to explain, is also on a drive to holistically introduce futsal throughout Antigua.

“We had our first such tournament in which over 40 teams participated in the Gray’s Farm area and we are going to be doing it on the last weekend of every month in the various communities. The next one is slated for the end of January and that will be in the Ottos area,” Santos said.

“There is a registration fee; I think its five dollars per team and they will get trophies, medals and so forth. We operate in the under-7s, under-11s, under-13s, under-16s and seniors,” Santos added.

A total of 19 young players have so far registered for the ID Programme with at least 25 expected to participate in the new initiative.