CAF Pledges Continued Support to GNFC After Successful CAF Football Identification Combine

Jamilla Kirwan of CAF and Ricky Santos of GNFC

This was initially published at Antigua News Room.

St. John’s, Antigua: Wednesday, January 31st, 2024: On the heels of a successfully staged Calvin Ayre Foundation (CAF) Players’ Identification Combine, which concluded on Sunday, January 25th, at the St. Anthony’s Secondary School, CAF is continuing its partnership with the Generation Next Football Club (GNFC), with a sponsorship for 2024 of over EC$240,000.

The continuation of sponsorship, stemming from a partnership that was formed in 2018 between CAF and GNFC, was announced at a brief ceremony on Wednesday at Canada Place, and was received by President of GNFC, Richard “Ricky” Santos and Administrative Assistant, Jonathan Thoroughgood.

Media Relations Specialist for the Ayre Group and Manager of the Calvin Ayre Foundation, Jamilla Kirwan expressed CAF’s sentiments in supporting the Club for the 6th year.

“It is a pleasure to partner with the Generation Next Football Club. This year, along with the Combine marks our 6th installment. We are just happy to see the caliber of coaches who came down to assess our young people with the aim of creating pathways for them, and happy to play our role in helping them achieve their goals through education and the sport that they love, Football.”

Santos expressed sincere thanks to the Foundation for its commitment to the youth of Antigua and Barbuda, through it giving pillars of Sports and Education.

“We’d like to thank the Calvin Ayre Foundation profusely, for the generous sponsorship for the two events that we have planned over the years and for the future, which is the Calvin Ayre Foundation Advance Academy – which runs from September to June every year – and also the Calvin Ayre Foundation’s Player Identification Combine, which runs once a year, where we bring down some significant scouts.”

Santos explained that this year’s Combine saw two former Premier League Managers; Micky Adams, former manager for Leicester City, Southampton, Sheffield United and Brentford, and Garry Monk, who is the former manager for Swansea and Leeds United, in attendance. Representation also came from Hartpury and Brookehouse Colleges in the UK; University of District of Columbia in the US, and scouts for the United Soccer League (USL) and Major League Soccer (MLS) teams.

“As everyone can appreciate,” Santos added, “the cost factor involved in having these relationships and bringing these professional scouts together to offer scholarship opportunities to our young and budding footballers, for international high schools, universities and colleges, and now professional contract opportunities, is huge. We thank CAF for seeing the vision we have at GNFC.”

The EC$240,000 donation will support the Club’s sporting initiatives for managing the sporting initiatives for 2024 for the CAF Advance Football Academy; to include coaches’ and players’ uniforms, coaches’ fees, footballs and other training and sporting gear. In addition, CAF’s donation facilitates SAT classes for the young players and the staging of the CAF Player Identification Combine.