President of Harbour View football club Carvel Stewart says that local clubs should stop sending unqualified players on scholarships as it is hurting both the individuals and the country’s long-term football future.
According to Stewart, student footballers who are not academically inspired should not be forced to go to college but should instead focus their efforts on making a professional career and only students with the requisite academic qualifications must take up these scholarship offers.
“Their real intention is to play football professionally, and that (college) system doesn’t allow them to do that. We have to review it rationally and decide who are serious about academics,” he insisted.
Stewart said that over the years he has seen players who lack the academic capacity get lost in the system, or come out with nothing, and he believes that this is also having a damaging effect on the nation’s football as the best young talent are getting lost in the US college system, and this, he says, is because they are not “academics”.
“We have followed the college programme, and when we have an academic, and he gets a scholarship, we say ‘Go ahead’, but when he is not an academic we (Harbour View) say ‘No, you are a footballer’, that wouldn’t make any sense at all, and it has followed through.
“We had players like Onandi Lowe. People came to me about him going to college, but that wouldn’t have worked. What worked for him is that he is a footballer, and his focus was becoming a professional footballer,” he reasoned.
He added: “The league is also suffering from it because you don’t see the youngsters coming through the league. You see all of these youngsters performing at the schoolboy level, and when they leave school, you hear people asking for them.
But they go and enjoy the bright lights over there (in the US), and then they disappear, and Jamaica’s football suffers because of it.
So we have to correct that,” he stated.
Source: The Jamaica Gleaner