NASL Com­bines post­poned

The Star (Jamaica) - - SPORTS - LEIGHTON LEVY

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.

TIM­ING

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.

Calvert Fitzger­ald

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