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Tuesday 27th May 2014 – Kingston, Jamaica: The Digicel Kick Start programme has helped to identify and develop a number of talented young footballers who have gone on to become notable players at the national, regional and international level. Senior International Football Development Officer for the Chelsea FC Foundation, David Monk, spoke exclusively with to discuss how Digicel’s partnership with Chelsea FC has resulted in the growth and development of the programme over the years.

Monk described his first interaction with the Digicel Kick Start programme when he said; “Working with the players at the Digicel Academy in Barbados really showed me the personal way in which the programme is impacting young people in the region. While I was massively inspired by Digicel’s work to improve the quality of football in the region through its grassroots programme, I also realised that there was so much scope and room for growth.”

He went to explain further how the programme between Chelsea FC and Digicel has grown saying; “We at Chelsea FC definitely share the same ideology as Digicel, which is all about developing a group of football players, but also developing the coaches and the community. After the Academy last year, we evaluated the programme and created clear objectives as to what we wanted to achieve as a football club in the Caribbean and Central American region. Fortunately for us, our objectives were similar to Digicel’s and that has made our job much easier and the programme has grown from a grassroots football programme to a region-wide all-inclusive community programme. This sees us leaving a long-lasting legacy in the region as we now work with both male and female players, grassroots coaches, the community and Special Olympics athletes – which is a massive bonus for us.”

After hosting the Academy in 2012, Monk and his team were given the responsibility of selecting the boys who will attend the 2013 Academy by hosting the Kick Start Clinics for the first time, which proved to be beneficial as they were able to select a balanced group of players, representing all positions. He explains; “It was important for us to ensure that equality was shown to all positions on the football field when selecting players for the Academy. This freedom allowed us to pick players who had positional versatility and enabled us to run the Digicel Academy as we do with the Chelsea FC football programmes. Our efforts bore fruit as our players won the final match against the Barbados National football team – a match lost by the previous year’s team.”

The Digicel Kick Start Clinics – now in their eighth year – see thousands of aspiring young footballers from across 15 countries in the Caribbean and Central America try out for their chance to travel to the Digicel Academy in Barbados and train under top coaches from Barclays Premier League side, Chelsea FC.

During the week-long Digicel Academy, the top 42 boys from across the region get the chance of a lifetime to receive intensive training under coaches from Barclays Premier League side, Chelsea Football Club.

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Digicel Group Limited is a leading global communications provider with operations in 32 markets in the Caribbean, Central America and Asia Pacific. After 13 years of operation, total investment to date stands at over US$5 billion worldwide. The company is renowned for delivering best value, best service and best network.

Digicel runs a host of community-based initiatives across its markets and has set up Digicel Foundations in Jamaica, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and Trinidad and Tobago which focus on educational, cultural and social development programmes.

Digicel is the lead sponsor of Caribbean, Central American and Pacific sports teams and individuals including the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt and Special Olympics teams throughout these regions. Digicel also sponsors the West Indies cricket team. 

Digicel is incorporated in Bermuda and its markets comprise: Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, El Salvador, Fiji, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Myanmar Nauru, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos and Vanuatu. Digicel also has coverage in St. Martin and St. Barts in the Caribbean.