NASL Combines postponed
Proposed football combines that were to be held in Jamaica by the North American Soccer League ( NASL) have been postponed for the time being.
Representatives from the NASL had confirmed earlier this week that there was to be a combine held in December when Jamaican players would have had the opportunity to try out for teams in the second- tier league that involves teams from the United States and Canada.
However, it was feared that the idea had gone up in smoke earlier when news emerged that the proposed combine had been cancelled.
“We were going to have a combine, but I got an email today ( Monday) that said the hotel people could not provide protection for the representatives,” said Brian Haynes, coach of NASL team Atlanta Silverbacks, on a local sports talk show this week.
Haynes, a former player for Trinidad and Tobago, said that despite the cancellation, he still had intentions to make the trip.
“I don’t need anybody to protect me. I have been to Jamaica several times and I have my good friend Lorne Donaldson that I would love to go with to check out some players. So, if the combine doesn’t happen, I am going to make it my duty to come down there,” he said.
But apparently all is not lost. Winston Clarke, the man behind the combine, assured that the combines have merely been postponed. Clarke, of International Sports Connections that is planning the combines, explained that the timing was not right.
“It’s coming on to Christmas and hotel deals might not be as competitive, so for now they ( the combines) have been postponed,” he said.
Clarke, who is of Jamaican lineage, said he has been working with Clyde Juredini of Harbour View Football Club and the Premier League Clubs Association ( PLCA) to provide opportunities for Jamaican clubs and players to make money. It is against this background that he gave his assurances that the combines will be held because he wants to give attention to the quality of players in Jamaica. Clarke said he plans to visit Jamaica next month to sit down with all the parties concerned to get a better perspective of what works. He said the plan is for the combines to be ongoing. It was reported on Monday that Juergen Sommer, the direction of operations and head coach of Indy Eleven, a USbased team that will make its debut in the NASL next year, had expressed the intention of the NASL “actively trying to work with the Jamaican professional football leagues” to do combines. Indy Eleven recently held a tryout for local football star Jermaine ‘ Tuffy’ Anderson as well as other Jamaican players.
The NASL has been looking at Jamaica because of the abundance of talent available on the island; talent that could get the well- needed exposure that the NASL could provide.