Stop telling lies - H View's Stewart blames high school coaches for state of local football

April 20, 2017
Harbour View's Le-Shaun Young (left) and the UWI's Kemar Flemmings go for the ball in their Red Stripe Premier League game at UWI yesterday. The match ended 1-1.

Harbour View chairman Carvel Stewart said the Premier League is being starved of talent honed by local clubs' junior teams. He laid the blame at the feet of high school coaches, who he has accused of brainwashing young players, who are told that playing in the Premier League woiuld damage their chances of getting United States scholarships.

At its peak up to five years ago, Stewart's Harbour View had set out on a path of grooming youngsters in its juniors teams to the Premier League, instead of shopping around for older players, who would jump at the chance to represent the Stars of the East, once regarded as the Manchester United of local football.

However, the move backfired, leaving Harbour View struggling, shoved from the pinnacle of the Premier League.

"Our youths are not available when the time comes. We have players at high school, who have been targeted. These players grew up in the club. When it's time to play Premier League, they play Manning Cup first and when Manning Cup is finished they are told not to play Premier League for the club, because they can't get a scholarship. It's ridiculous," Stewart told STAR Sports.

Stewart also pointed out that after being accepted on scholarships at US colleges, it is discovered by the schools that their 'given' grades bear no resemblance to their actual classroom abilities, resulting in them being asked to leave the institutions after which they disappear from the football radar.

"It's not true that they cannot play Premier League and get scholarships. All they do is play as an amateur, we will play them in our senior team.

"I was prepared to play them from September but I am competing against schools who go to parents and give money, so if I want my youngster to play Premier League at the start of the season I will have to be paying him," he revealed.

Stewart said the Jamaica Football Federation's (JFF) hierarchy is insensitive to the matter because its members are not attached to clubs.

"We never got the leadership of the football to understand these things because they do not come from clubs. If the leadership of the JFF was from clubs you would see a different attitude towards development

Stewart said the clubs are not benefiting from players they spend enormous resources to develop, financially or on the field, which also hampers the development of players and their ability to make a smooth transition into senior football.

"Youth development is expensive and you don't get any physical reward for it until maybe later when a player is transferred and you earn a money but with this it is being rigged against us," he said.

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