Unlimted talent pool keeps UWI FC afloat

October 31, 2016
Radico Wellington of Maverley-Hughenden (right) heads the ball challenged by Kemar Douglas of UWI FC in their Red Stripe Premier League game on September 18.
Dalton Myers
Boys' Town's Rafeik Thomas (left) and UWI FC's Owen Hill (second left) look on as UWI FC's goalkeeper, Amal Knight, makes a save during the Red Stripe Premer League football encounter at Barbican playing field. Boys' Town won 2-1 through Thomas' deciding goal.

Having ready-made supply of talent has gone a far way in helping UWI FC stay among the most competitive teams in the Red Stripe Premier League.

In the team's first year of promotion, they finished fifth in the league, just outside the top four needed for a semi-final spot, and are currently leading the standings after nine rounds this season.

Last week, newly promoted Jamalco FC and Maverley-Hughenden quoted figures of approximately $2 million per month to keep their teams viable, figures way above what they spent in their respective parish Super Leagues.

However, UWI Director of Sports Dalton Myers told STAR Sports that the team, which is linked to the University of the West Indies, Mona, has been able to save some of the expenses related to talent as members of the football team are students on scholarship at UWI.




"We try not to spend too much because we just don't have it. We spend between $1 million and $1.6 million per month. How we structure our thing is to have mostly students on scholarship {playing} and that drives down the cost," he said, adding that Premier League teams budget between $14 and $21 million per season for expenses.

"We were also able to drive down other costs because we already have a sporting facility and we have intercollegiate and other competitions and we piggyback on those, not to drive up other costs throughout the year," he said.

The team also saves funds by not trying to spend a lot on transfers.

"The way we managed promotion helped in a big way. After we lost our first three games, we didn't go for any top player, we just assisted players to believe in themselves, improved our meal programme, and medical programme," he said.

Myers added that the team has also been able to raise funds through sponsorship from Lucozade and Soccer Express; gate receipts; the Premier League Clubs' Association; and funding from the UWI.




Myers said much of the finances go into ensuring the well-being of the team.

"We have to take medical [status] and well-being of the athletes way more seriously - injury management, rehabili-tation, pool exercise ... ."

He said that while the financial payback is nil, the university has responsibilities to the community which it has to fulfil.

"From a financial standpoint, it's not our most profitable because the money you pump in you will not be able to make it back. Our role is that of a tertiary institution and you must make a contribution to development. The other way we will look at is how we contribute towards the community," he said.

That being said, Myers noted that the team performed above expectation last season, and they hope to do even better this year.

"Our first year and this year have been a big success - way bigger than we anticipated. [Last season,] we aimed to finish in the top eight - we just didn't want to get relegated - and we finished fifth. We almost finished in the top four."

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