Tuesday, April 16, 2024

US coach on scouting mission


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ANOTHER?WINDOW has opened for youth footballers of Barbados.
A National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) soccer coach and product of Barbados is in the island for three weeks to recruit players for his college and a couple of others.
Rommel Forde, a past student of Coleridge & Parry School and Queen’s College, is head coach of the reserve team and assistant to the first team for Kansas Wesleyan University (KWU).
KWU recently claimed their fifth Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference soccer title and did so convincingly, extending their 48-game unbeaten run.
They were also play-off champions for their conference, which led them to a Nationals appearance, where they were ousted in the first round via the penalty route.
With five quality, high-profile players graduating, Forde is keen to fill the void.
“We had a couple players leaving us at the end of this season, so we are eager to bring some players in, particularly a forward and two midfielders,” he told MIDWEEK?SPORT.
Forde noted the competition in the NAIA conference was very high, especially due to the number of international players in the league.
He believes Barbados has such talent and wants to grant the players here the opportunity to play a good level of football and gain a quality education.
“We have a number of international players, with guys from Cameroon, Guatemala, Mexico and Argentina, and from my experience here, I believe Barbados has the quality to add to this successful unit,” Forde said.
His recruitment is not limited to KWU as Forde said his alma mater Long Island University (LIU) was very keen to recruit players with the same qualities he displayed for four years.
Forde’s mentor and former coach, Kostecky has designated him as an unofficial talent scout to the Caribbean.
Forde has also been entrusted with scouting responsibilities for NCAA Division Two university, Cal Poly Pomona Women’s soccer team.
“During the Thanksgiving break, I met with Michael Dibbini (Caly Poly Pomona’s coach) and upon knowing of my trip back to Barbados, he became very interested and stated his interest in securing a forward from the islands,” Forde said.
He added that there was an obvious urge to secure Caribbean talent but good grades must accompany the natural athletic ability and technical skills which Caribbean athletes have.
Forde, who is pursuing an MBA in business administration, has been a success story since leaving Barbados in 2008 on a full athletic scholarship to LIU.
Along with being a starter for all four years, he led his team in assists for three years and made the dean’s list for five consecutive semesters.
In his final year, graduating with a 3.75 GPA with a BSc in sports science, he became the first Barbadian student-athlete to earn a spot on the North East Conference All-conference Honour Roll.


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