Thompson and Bascome create youth league
Kenny Thompson and Andrew Bascome have teamed up to create the Youth Football Super League Bermuda in an effort to accelerate player development on the island.
Thompson and Bascome, two of the island's most respected coaches, have formed the seven-a-side league with the blessing of the Bermuda Football Association, which is keen to increase the amount of competitive youth matches.
The league, which started last night at North Field, will run until June and feature under-9, under-11, under-13 and under-15 divisions in a round-robin format, with the top four teams advancing to a semi-final and final.
Matches kick off at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm on Monday evenings, with the participating clubs' B and C teams playing friendlies on Wednesdays. Thompson said the Super League will be professionally structured and believes the matches will be played in a “spectacular and vibrant atmosphere” to fuel the ambitions of those players involved.
“Our idea is to create a professional environment for an experience that is exciting and highly motivating to players and fans,” Thompson, the BAA director of football, said.
“Young players play football for fun and ambition, and with visions of their favourite players playing in their favourite competitions in their heads.
“With this in mind, we brainstormed on what would be required to build an environment that the young players can relate to, based on what they know from what they see on television, the internet and social media.”
Thompson said he was delighted the league had the BFA's support and that the majority of the domestic clubs they approached had entered teams this term. He added that it made sense for the league to begin this month so not to clash with schools football.
“The BFA has accepted the Super League as something that adds to the football goal of providing opportunity for player participation and development in an exceptional environment,” Thompson said. “We have an exceptional tournament in Bermuda, the Kappa Classic, and that's for one weekend. We want to provide this environment and competitive element on a consistent basis.”
Thompson said he and Bascome have ambitious plans to grow the league for future seasons and bring more teams on board. “[The Super League] has been embraced by the players and parents, and I think the public can lookout for even bigger things,” he said. “We have lots of concepts that we're going to be implementing.
“We would like this tournament to not just be for the elite teams of each club, but also for their B and C teams. For the A teams the concept would be a Champions League, and for the B and C teams it would be more of a Europa League.”
Thompson said he hopes his partnership with Bascome will dispel rumours that the pair do not enjoy the most harmonious relationship.
“Some of the things that have been said are certainly a surprise to Andrew and I,” said Thompson, who also works alongside Bascome at BAA. We've always been cordial to each other. I went to play for Village because of Andrew; he was coach at the time. I don't know where these things came from and I don't care, to be honest. Maybe this will help quiet those rumours.”
Mark Wade, the BFA president, said the Super League “ticked a lot of boxes” in terms of player development.
“We're always looking at opportunities to play more football, as we know our particular season is short.” Wade said. “We want to be able to demonstrate what can be done in Bermuda with the right type of support and resources, and this fits right into what we're trying to do. We're happy to be able to sanction the event.”