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Bridgetown, Barbados – The Barbados Football Association (BFA) has officially confirmed that for the very first time a National squad of Under-14 Boys will be heading to the Dominican Republic to participate in the 2022 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Boys’ U-14 Challenge Series.
Set to take place over 13 – 21 August, the Series is noted as a key developmental tool to assist regional teams to strengthen their skill sets and to continue to build their respective national player pools.
Under-14 Boys Team Manager Tricia Forde says the players are excited to get onto the pitch to represent their nation, as well as to embrace the tournament as a timely development opportunity after the pandemic created a significant pause in football activity on the island.
“This is the first time Barbados is sending an Under-14 Boys team, so just to be participating is a huge achievement,” she said. “We are still narrowing down our final squad, but all the players are so happy to be back on the pitch and very appreciative of the chance to learn from some of the region’s most competitive young teams.”
Forde says the Series is critical to the boys’ overall development, both on and off the field.
“Competing against all different styles of play will be an invaluable asset to the boys’ match skills,” she said. “Aside from that, these kinds of opportunities instill the importance of discipline, decision-making, teamwork, responsibility, and good sportsmanship; setting these young boys on the right path from an early age.”
Under-14 Boys Head Coach Renaldo Gilkes echoed these sentiments, saying he was proud of the players, most of whom will be impressively making a direct leap from grassroots to international football when they compete in the Dominican Republic next month.
“The CFU Challenge Series is the perfect developmental opportunity for our young team making their international debut,” he said. “Competitive matches of this caliber are an essential component of the BFA’s holistic approach to development, uniquely giving our players the ability to grow within all pillars of development – technically, tactically, physically, and psychologically.”
BFA President Randy Harris says he is delighted a Barbados youth delegation will be participating in the Challenge Series, and reiterated the BFA’s commitment to providing solid development opportunities to those involved in football at all levels.
“Our new Strategic Plan guides our pathway for the development of football in Barbados at every level,” he said. “One part of this, is the promise we have made to our players to provide them with a variety of developmental initiatives, as well as a commitment to playing more overseas matches. This Challenge Series is an exciting introduction to international competition for our young players, and we continue to support the growth of all facets of football both locally and abroad.”
This year’s CFU Boys’ U-14 Challenge Series will see 25 teams from the 31 CFU Member Associations, including Barbados, participate and will be divided as follows:
Tier 1 (Group 1A): Bonaire; Curacao; Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico
Tier 1 (Group 1B): Aruba; Haiti; Jamaica; St. Kitts and Nevis
Tier II (Group 1): Bermuda; Guyana; St. Martin; Trinidad and Tobago
Tier II (Group 2): Barbados; Dominica; French Guiana; St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Tier II (Group 3): Cayman Islands; Grenada; Martinique; St. Lucia
Tier II (Group 4): Anguilla; British Virgin Islands; St. Maarten; Turks and Caicos Islands; US Virgin Islands
Final squad selection is to be announced next week, with Team Barbados set to arrive in the Dominican Republic on 11 August.
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