Downswell moving to help young ballers make next step
Director of football Wendell Downswell says he will be seeking to develop a system, which he hopes will make it easier for gifted young players to step up from schoolboy football to the national programme.
"We are exploring the possibility of establishing a license for the coaches so there is a common understanding as to how we prepare these young players going forward. This will aim at educating these coaches along with requisite qualification and this would bring about a level of uniformity," Downswell said in an interview on Tuesday.
Downswell is no stranger to youth football as he was the head coach of the team that qualified for the 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Mexico. Now as director of football he noted youth development is his number one priority. He believes the Under-18 competition along with others in the pipeline will bear fruit for the national programme given the talent going around.
"A lot of emphasis will be placed on youth competitions, just today we had a meeting regarding the Under-18 competition. Ultimately the aim is to get the youth teams to qualify for the various youth categories of competition and from there into the senior team," said Downswell, who led his squad to a silver medal at the 2007 Pan Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Downswell who also led the Reggae Boyz to the Caribbean Cup in 2005 believes the less outstanding talents coming out of the schoolboy football competitions should have an avenue at the club level like the Under-21 competition to prepare them for the senior competition. He added that they are exploring the possibility of getting the premier league clubs to play a part in the transition of schoolboy footballers into the national set-up.
"We are having dialogue with the respective clubs as they will play a significant role in recognising these talents and bring them to the forefront," said Downswell who is also the technical director of premier league club Reno FC.