Young players enjoy valuable experience on touring mentorship programme
A group of local youth are gaining first-hand experience of what it takes to become a professional football player on a whirlwind tour of the United Kingdom.
Eight members of the Bermuda Brazilian Football School and two others studying abroad in the UK are among 14 players involved in the tour, which falls under the auspices of organisers Galactico Mentoring Program.
“The plan for this tour is to educate our young men. We have eight boys from Bermuda’s Brazilian Football School from age 11 up to 14, four American boys who I have invited from my camp I do in Maryland and also joining us are two Bermudian players that go school out in the UK,” said Dennis Brown, who is a partner with the mentorship programme’s founder Tony Robinson and co-founder of BBFS.
“What I wanted to give them was a football education on what is required to go to the next level, even at their age group, and they are getting a good football lesson. The results don’t matter to me, what matters to me is that these guys learn what it takes, the commitment.
“It’s a lot of things that come into play to be a professional football player; No 1, dedication to your craft. The work you put in, the mentality, and that’s one of the things that Tony Robinson and I have in our mentor programme about changing the mentality. When things don’t go well, a lot of times with Bermuda players they show a defeatist attitude, and we want to create a never-give-up mentality.”
The group have so far played three matches in as many days, losing 9-1 against Everton Academy, 4-0 to a Liverpool Schoolboy Select and 9-0 against a Manchester City Select.
“It’s been a good learning curve for the boys with three games in three days, which was very difficult for them as they are not used to this type of intensity, and, like I said, the result is really not important to me,” Brown added.
“What’s important is they learn from each game and one thing they should learn is mistakes are punished at a higher level. They may get away with that in Bermuda, but mistakes out here really get punished and in all the three games we made some mistakes. So it’s a matter of minimising their mistakes if they want to go to another level; keep working hard no matter how difficult the game is, whether you are losing 20-0.
“But in all the games, I was proud with the fact that they never gave up. They kept working, so it’s just about learning as they go along.
“They were excited to play at Everton’s Academy, Liverpool’s Academy and the fantastic Etihad Manchester City Academy, and not many boys can say they have done that.”
The group have also had the opportunity to broaden their historical and cultural horizons off the pitch on the tour.
“We have taken them to different historical sites in Liverpool, especially the Slave Museum we went to, which was an eye-opener for the boys to learn about what happened 400 years ago,” Brown said.
“It just not about football but also learning about life and life skills, and the boys have really taken it in and the parents have enjoyed it.”
The group will travel to Wales to play against the national under-13 champions in their final match on tour.
“We are going to play in an actual stadium, so it’s going to be a good experience for the boys to play in a big stadium,” Brown added.
The group will also attend the English Premier League match between Everton and Tottenham and Sky Bet Championship contest pitting Preston North End against Blackpool in a Lancashire derby.
“They will be seeing two professional games which would be good for the boys from a professional point of view,” Brown added.
“Seeing two professional games and playing four matches themselves will be a good experience for the boys of what it takes, especially the intensity part of football, and a good lesson for them early in their development.”
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