The third staging of the Next Generation Valencia Football camp set for April 1-5 at UTech got a huge $3-million boost from ScotiaBank at a launch at the Spanish Court Hotel yesterday.
The kids’ camp that every year chooses players to train with Valencia FC in Spain, will provide 15-hour intense practical and theoretical training sessions with coaches from the Valencia academy.
Players between the ages of seven and 11 years old will have their sessions from 8:30 to 12:00 pm with the older boys between 12-17 training from 1:30 to 5:00 pm. Admission fee is $15,000.
At the end of the camp, one player will be selected from 180 to join Valencia in the summer. Currently 15-year-old Martin Davis and Luca Levee are in Spain and they spoke of their stint at the launch via the Internet through Skype.
Davis, a former St George’s College student and Harbour View FC Under 13 Captain, who has been there since 2010, said the move has been a positive one for him.
“I have benefited a lot with the corporation of Valencia. The people around me has helped me a lot to develop as a better player,” said Davis, who sounded knowledgeable as he explained the rudiments of his day-to-day training.
Levee, who attended Campion College and was chosen from last year’s bunch, said he has adapted to the culture in Spain.
“I am learning the culture of Spain. I am improving my football and the coaches are helping me and I am settling in very quickly,” said Levee, who has apparently fallen in love with Spain and stressed that he won’t be coming home.
Jamaica College student, Junior Flemmings, who had a short stint at the Valencia academy last year, said it was something to saviour as he was exposed to other players from different countries across Europe.
“It is something to remember. The tactical stuff, the pace of the game is much faster and our decision making has to be faster,” he revealed.
Dutch footballer Hedwiges Maduro, 26, of Valencia also spoke via Skype after preparing for Saturday’s game against Getafe and shared his Valencia experience with the audience.
“Valencia is the third biggest club in Spain and also a big club in Europe. The most important thing is that football brings everybody together,” said Maduro, who is trying to force his way back in the Netherlands team for the Euro 2012 Championship.
His advice for the young Jamaicans aspiring to become professional footballer is “try to do your best and listen to the trainer (and) have respect and discipline”.
Meanwhile, Monique Todd, ScotiaBank Group’s vice president of marketing, public and corporate affairs, said when the concept of bringing the Valencia Next Generation camp to Jamaica was presented two year’s ago, Scotia jumped at the opportunity.
“The idea that the Next Generation helps to foster the next generation of human being in helping to develop their future, and that is really in a nutshell what Scotia is about,” said Todd.
“We immediately saw it as a good fit with our holistic approach to sports and three years later we continue our commitment as we have seen the legacy grow every year,” she reiterated.
Other sponsors include Spanish Court Hotel, Hi-Lyte Sport Drink, LockerRoom Sports, Ballaz International, Main Event Entertainment, IPrint Jamaica, St Mary’s and Jamaica Producers.
Andre Virtue, technical director of the Next Generation Valencia Camp, said as with everything they do, the programme will be an extension of their philosophy of holistic development through sports.
“We have executed this camp for two years in Kingston and now we want to expose kids in other regions of Jamaica to this international level of training,” he revealed.
Her Excellency, Celsa Nuno Garcia, Spanish Ambassador to Jamaica, said the camp has brought Spain and Jamaica together in another way, adding to the old and enduring bonds.
“This has brought our countries together and more importantly our youngsters,” she pointed out.
The five-day camp has been once again endorsed by the ruling Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), and its head of the Technical and Development Committee, Howard McIntosh, praised the organisers of the Valencia camps.
“Unreservedly the JFF expresses its support to the people who put this camp on, sponsors who continue to support it and to all who continue to develop this beautiful game,” he said.